Since the Salvator Mundi sold at a Christie's auction for $450M in 2017, setting a world record price for any artwork, intrigue has followed.
Restored after its rediscovery in 2005 and then sold as a rare work by Leonardo da Vinci, the painting of Christ as Savior of the World continues to stir controversy--from the murkiness of its whereabouts to authenticity concerns and the multimillions made by those involved with its multiple sales.
The Art Newspaper previewed a new French film that seems to explain why the Salvator Mundi never appeared in the Musée du Louvre’s recent blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci show. In Antoine Vitkine’s film The Savior for Sale, to be released on French Television’s France 5 on April 13, the suggestion is that French experts declared da Vinci “only contributed” to the picture, and that its “authenticity” could not be confirmed, according to TAN. The Louvre seemingly went without the loan from the painting's owner, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), due to not wholly agreeing with the Saudi's "100% Leonardo da Vinci" attribution.
While that storyline of the film might have already been surmised by those following this art tale, details of the French-Saudi negotiations and insights into the Louvre's own analysis (including an affirmative attribution to da Vinci in one catalogue) adds more meat to the narrative.
The Lost Leonardo, a feature documentary directed by Andreas Koefoed, will provide another attempt to unravel the complicated saga of the Salvator Mundi.
“The story of the Salvator Mundi is a fascinating dark fairy tale” said Koefoed. “It merges the love of art, money and power in such an explosive way.”
Now in post-production, the film's worldwide rights (except for UK, France and Germany) were recently acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, according to Deadline. This new film was produced by Andreas Dalsgaard for Copenhagen-based Elk Film and Christoph Jörg for Paris-based Pumpernickel Film.
“We will marvel at truth stranger than fiction,” said producer Dalsgaard. “It’s definitely the most intriguing art story of the 21st century. It will take the audience from one secret world to another.”
Whether The Lost Leonardo will provide any "explosive" revelations remains to be seen as a minute-long film clip simply posits a restorer's excited declaration: "No one except Leonardo could have painted this picture...."