This is an engrossing documentary about the most expensive painting ever sold, the Salvator Mundi, which may or may not have been painted by the great Leonardo Da Vinci.
The painting was bought at auction in New Orleans in 2005 for $1175 by a dealers who specialised in Old Masters. The work is a picture of Jesus, his right hand making a blessing and his left holding a globe, painted on a walnut panel – and it was badly damaged by cheap restorations.
The dealers took it to expert restorer Dianne Modestini who worked on it for five years, restoring 85% of the upper part of the painting. She believed in its authenticity.
It was then sold to Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlovi in 2013 through a Swiss broker for $127.5 million and stored in a Freeport warehouse, free of import duties and taxes. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Saudi Arabia, then bought it from Christies in London for more than $450 million.
Leonardo da Vinci lived in the early 1500s. He painted only 15 authenticated works. And despite its now enormous value, to his day Salvator Mundi (Saviour Of The World) has not been fully authenticated as a da Vinci.
The Lost Leonardo includes interviews with the restorer, art gallery staff, experts and dealers. Director Andreas Koefoed and six writers have made an intriguing film showing how corrupt businessmen and criminals can use art to launder money, and how they are helped by the publicity and sales in auction houses. It feels almost like a thriller as the sale price rises.
In this quest for fame, money and power, is the painting authentic or not? Opinions are divided, but something is only worth what someone else will pay for it!
Now showing at Luna Leederville, Luna SX, and Windsor Nedlands.
Watch the trailer…