The Saudi crown prince just bought Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Salvator Mundi," for a record $450 million at auction last month. Then, the United Arab Emirates tweeted that the painting "is coming to the Louvre Abu Dhabi", recently opened by Macron. That $450 Million Leonardo? It’s No Mona Lisa.‘Salvator Mundi’ – Leonardo da Vincy at Christies.
NOV. 15, 2017 New York Times
The painting, when purchased at an estate sale in 2005 for less than $10,000, was initially considered a copy of a lost Leonardo, completed around 1500 and once in the collection of Charles I of England. Over time, its wood surface became cracked and chafed, and it had been crudely overpainted, as an image in the sale catalog shows. Cleaned by the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, the painting now appears in some limbo state between its original form and an exacting, though partially imagined, rehabilitation.“The composition doesn’t come from Leonardo,”
said Jacques Franck, a Paris-based art historian and Leonardo specialist. “He preferred twisted movement. It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it’s very damaged.”“It’s been called ‘the male Mona Lisa,’”
he said, “but it doesn’t look like it at all.”
Mr. Franck said he has examined the Mona Lisa out of its frame five times.
Luke Syson, curator of the 2011 National Gallery exhibition in London that featured the painting, said in his catalog essay that “the picture has suffered.”
While both hands are well preserved, he said, the painting was “aggressively over cleaned,”
resulting in abrasion of the whole surface, “especially in the face and hair of Christ.”