Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

A recent discovery of a painting of Christ holding a transparent orb has been definitely attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo had many imitators in 16th century Milan but their efforts are miserably below his standard. Looking at the newly cleaned Salvator Mundi, (Savior of the World) which was recently exhibited at the National Gallery, a rediscovered work by Leonardo, the transparent orb is far too brilliantly painted to be the work of one of his disciples.
This unloved painting sold for £45 in 1956 and is now worth £120 million! The painting, acquired in 2005 by a consortium of businessmen, was recently restored. The number of lost Leonardo works almost equals his known paintings. Leda and the Swan, a provocative nude, was probably destroyed by a shocked religious member of the French royal family. The Battle of Anghiari was covered or destroyed at the behest of the Medici. A nude Mona Lisa, the Mona Vanna, is another lost work. Salvator Mundi, is described in 17th century documents but long thought to have vanished.

Christ gazes softly, wisely, from falling curly locks – another Leonardo trait is a love of ringlets and spirals – and raises his right hand in benediction. This work is clearly connected with The Last Supper: the Christ has the same ethereal and elusive quality as the faded figure at the center of Leonardo's sublime mural. This painting once belonged to Charles I. Later in the 17th century the royal family got its hands on the best collection of Leonardo drawings in the world.

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