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US News: The Lost Leonardo: The Salvator Mundi, True-False Vinci and Big Scam

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En 2017 le Salvator Mundi, attribué à Léonard de Vinci, a été vendu aux enchères 450 millions de dollars. © AFP / Ilya Savenok / Getty In 2017 The Salvator Mundi, awarded to Leonardo da Vinci, was sold $ 450 million.

How the Salvator Mundi , the most expensive painting in the world, maybe painted by Leonardo da Vinci but never authenticated, could be sold $ 450 million in 2017? It is the lighting proposed by a new documentary, in theaters since Wednesday, January 26th. Built as a thriller, The Lost Leonardo , Danish Andreas Koefoed, traces the history of the mysterious painting, which has resurfaced during an auction in New Orleans in 2005 while we thought of disappeared since the Seventeenth century. Then bought $ 1.175 by a New York merchant, it was restored by an American expert, convinced of his attribution to Leonardo da Vinci.

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It was then resold at least twice until its acquisition for $ 450 million at an ultra-mediated auction In New York in 2017. It is then described as " masculine double of the joconde ". His buyer would be the Saudi Prince Mohammed Ben Salmane , which has never been officially confirmed.

»Read also - A new rebound on the origins of the Salvator Mundi

shot for three years and extremely documented, the film, subtitled" Art, silver and power ", gives the floor to many experts of the master of the Italian Renaissance and the art market, including members of the FBI.

scam or masterpiece?

It shows how an artistic mystery has become an " kind of worldwide trophy used for speculative purposes and probably political haggling ," says the AFP the director. " A scam like the other " and " a revealing lie of our time ", Jerry Saltz tranche, American art critic.

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" Tell this story, it's like looking through a prism and better understand the mechanisms of the world, by seeing secret universes that we do not usually have access (...). It is also a mirror of ourselves, which shows how we are ready to believe in lie as to a religion, "adds Andreas Koefed.

Highly anticipated at the high exposure to the Louvre dedicated to the 500 years of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, at the end of 2019, the " Salvator Mundi " (Latin World Savior) was ultimately never been exposed to Exception of a pale copy, on the controversy background around an expertise of the famous museum that would attest to his authenticity, partially made public by the Tribune of Art .

Interviewed by AFP, the Louvre still does not want to deny or confirm its expertise and results, contained in a small booklet published by mistake before being removed from the sale on the occasion of the exhibition.

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of the contradictory expertise

One of the strengths of the documentary is the testimony of Dianne Modestini which has completely restored the upper part of the table, 65 cm out of 45, where Christ emerges from the darkness blessing with a hand the world while holding a globe in the other. The feeling of this expert is that it is a Leonardo da Vinci, which leaves some very dubitative specialists.

It also shows how a curator of the National Gallery of London, who had gathered in 2008 the greatest specialists of Leonardo da Vinci, exceeded the result of this meeting by saying that it was a chart of the master , exposed as such in its museum in 2011 but nevertheless authenticated formally by these same experts.

Other strong point: the detailed route of the painting, refused by all the great museums of the world because too " suspect ", but acquired in 2013 by a Swiss businessman, Yves Bouvier, heir to a transport company and Specialist in the commerce of works of art, which resold him to a Russian oligarch. The latter will separate, considering having been " abused " by this intermediary.

At the heart of these transactions: the vast frank ports, tax havens to storage spaces filled with works of art that would represent " billion dollars ", never taxed because considered " in transit ".

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