Salvator Mundi painting pulled out of upcoming Louvre exhibition

According to an announcement made by the owner, the infamous Salvator Mundi painting will no longer feature in the upcoming Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Louvre in Paris. This follows reports that the museum’s Curators were unable to agree whether it was painted by Leonardo or his workshop.

The Salvator Mundi shot to fame in 2017 when it became the most expensive artwork ever to sell at auction. In a Christie’s New York sale, the painting was purchased for a record-breaking $450 million (£335 million). The buyer’s identity – initially shrouded in mystery – was later disclosed to be Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

Even before the Christie’s sale, scholars fiercely debated its attribution to Leonardo due to the extensive conservation the painting had received.

Ben Lewis, author of The Last Leonardo, claimed museum experts were increasingly casting doubt on Leonardo’s name: “The Louvre Paris have asked the Louvre Abu Dhabi if they could borrow it for their exhibition – that’s official. But my inside sources at the Louvre, various sources, tell me that not many Louvre curators think this is an autograph [real] Leonardo da Vinci and if they did exhibit it, they really want to exhibit it as ‘workshop’”.

Exhibiting the painting as ‘workshop’ of Leonardo would be likely to have a big impact on its value. For example, in 2007 the Salvator Mundi sold for only $1,000 (£795) because it was attributed as ‘after’ Leonardo da Vinci.

In February, the Louvre requested the Salvator Mundi for its blockbuster exhibition Da Vinci 500 years, which will open at the end of this year. The museum is expecting unprecedented visitor numbers for the show and has released timed tickets to help ease overcrowding.

But now the Saudi Prince refuses to lend the painting to the Louvre in light of the Louvre’s potential ‘workshop’ attribution. The Louvre Abu Dhabi also planned to display the Salvator Mundi last September, yet it never appeared. Its current location is unknown, although it is believed to be in a storage facility in Switzerland.

If a picture cannot show its face, that is really damning for the art world. It is almost like it has become the Saudi’s latest political prisoner,” jested Lewis.

One thought on “Salvator Mundi painting pulled out of upcoming Louvre exhibition

  1. Cyril Bennett says:

    i have been in this business 45 years plus, and over the years in this business i have realized there are no
    experts in this business, although i have handled some of the worlds greatest art, i still do not consider myself
    an expert, there is no such thing, the only real experts would be scientists doing complete forensic analysis,
    or Oxford University in England.

    Anyone else who believes they are experts are living in fantasy world, example, Curators are not considered experts, yes they can jump up and down all day long swearing that they are, is definitely laughable the only
    again considered experts, Art historians who have made a study of art as a lifelong career, such as Historians at Oxford or Cambridge Universities, yes they would be in some way experts, but only in a historical sense, but again forensic science must still be looked at as the only true method of determining if a painting was
    actually painted by a master,

    It is the same old story, rent a room in a Major Hotel take an easel and a painting for display, invite 20 so
    called experts to view the painting, and I will guarantee that everyone will come up with a different opinion,
    as to was it done by the hand of the actual artist, or was it painted by a student, are the colors correct or is the paint stroke the same as other painting the artist painted, no once again I say there are no experts only true scientific proof can be construed as yes it was painted by the artist.


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