This is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, Savior of the World. Blue-robed Jesus is holding a crystal orb and gazing directly at the viewer. Thus far, this happens to be the world’s most expensive painting. It was acquired on behalf of the United Arab Emirates government after an intense bidding war at Christie’s in New York in November for £350 million.
But now Matthew Landrus, a research fellow at Oxford University’s Wolfson College, has said it was actually painted by assistant Bernardino Luini. Luini have worked with Leonardo and, according to recollections of his contemporaries, he has taken “as much from Leonardo as his native roots enabled him to comprehend”. It sure seems Luini’s native roots comprehended enough to paint with such mastery that to be mistaken for Leonardo many times in Leonardo’s life and even more so thereafter.
Matthew Landrus says: ‘This is a Luini painting. By looking at the various versions of Leonardo’s students’ works, one can see that Luini paints just like that work you see in the Salvator Mundi.’
‘I can prove that Luini painted most of that painting. A comparison of Luini’s paintings with the Salvator Mundi will be sufficient evidence.’
Mr Landrus attributes only five to twenty percent of the painting to Leonardo’s hand and argues that Luini, not Leonardo, was the ‘primary painter.’
Acquired for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, the painingwill be unveiled in September at the Louvre Abu Dhabi before its inclusion in a Leonardo exhibition at the Louvre in Paris next year.
Some of the world’s foremost experts confirmed the Leonardo attribution in 2011, when Luke Syson, the then National Gallery curator, included the painting ina Leonardo retrospective at the London gallery that year.
But other leading experts have their doubts. Frank Zöllner, a German art historian at the University of Leipzig, believes the Salvator Mundi could be a “high-quality product of Leonardo’s workshop” or even a later follower, and Charles Hope, the Italian Renaissance specialist, has argued that accepted Leonardo paintings look “quite different”.
Michael Daley, the director of ArtWatch UK, criticized the painting for its lack of Leonardo’s “greater naturalism and complexity of posture”, and said Landrus’s theory was “very interesting”.
One of the noteworthy vox populi comments to this news:
Most people […] would not call Matthew Landrus an Oxford Scholar. He is an author, likely seeking publicity on the back of the Salvator Mundi sale. He appears to be a part time lecturer for the Open University who recently studied DPhil at a very new Oxford college for post grads. No evidence he is credible, except to make money as a conspiracy theory author?
Go and figure.
Main source: The article in the The Guardian