Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Long Lost Da Vinci?

A portrait of Jesus Christ entitled "Salvador Mundi," or "Savior of the World" will be on display at the National Gallery in London from November 2011 until February 2012. Most art scholars have agreed that the portrait is a restored and rediscovered Da Vinci. The painting does have a provenance which can be documented. I do find the history somewhat confusing, though, since there were also many copies of the masterpiece by others throughout history. Also the painting changed hands many times in 500 years. 

Scholars have long known that Da Vinci was commissioned by Louis XII of France in 1506 to paint a portrait of Jesus. The painting was believed to be completed in 1513. For most of the years "Salvador Mundi" has been in the hands of royals, most notably Charles I of England, in 1649. Eventually, an American in New York acquired the painting in the 20th century. The last time the painting sold was in 1958, and it sold for 100 dollars. At the time it was attributed to Da Vinci's student Giovanni Boltraffio, and was quite damaged. 

After restoration and authentication, the value is now estimated as 200 million.

To me, it is a very haunting portrait, typical of Da Vinci. It reminds me of the Mona Lisa, and seems to bear the stamp of the master's style. Yet many others would have wanted to copy Da Vinci. 

How exciting if it is a Da Vinci! I'd see it in London if I had the chance. 

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