The last known art work of Leonardo da Vinci was almost lost forever. Fret not! It has been discovered and will be sold at an auction on 15 November, 2017!
Who was Leonardo da Vinci?
He was an architect, artist, inventor, scientist, and writer. This genius lived in Italy about 550 years ago. He was a notorious perfectionist. Interestingly, he mostly taught himself various techniques and sciences, through talking to people and sharpening his powers of observation. He also loved riddles and codes.
As an artist he is known for his magnificent paintings, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. It is rumoured that da Vinci hid symbols and codes in his paintings and other creations. The Mona Lisa, for example, has always been shrouded in mystery. Who was she? Why did she have this little smile? How is it that no matter which angle you look at her from, she is ALWAYS looking at you? More recently, some art historians have found letters and symbols hidden in the darkest part of the painting – the pupils of her eyes!. Add this to the fact that in his later years, da Vinci was apparently very possessive of this painting, and took it everywhere with him in a special case, such that it never left his side. All of this has added to the air of mystery surrounding this painting and some of his work.
Experts believe that there are 15 authentic paintings of Leonardo da Vinci that exist today. Most of them hang in museums.
Why is Leonardo da Vinci in the news in 2017?
He is in the news because one of his last paintings, Salvator Mundi (Latin for “Savior of the World”), has been discovered. It was known that Leonardo had produced a painting of that name, but it was assumed to have been destroyed. This is a major discovery of the 21st century.
What do we know about this painting?
It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci painted the subject, Jesus Christ, for Louis XII of France in the early 1500s. It depicts Jesus Christ as the saviour of the world. The beautiful figure is holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in blessing. It is an oil painting on a walnut panel.
Why is the rediscovery of this painting so intriguing?
The last Leonardo da Vinci painting to be found was in 1909, almost 108 years ago. This painting was considered to be destroyed and people believed only copies existed. It was found in such horrible condition that one would never have imagined that below the layers of grime and patchwork paint there existed an authentic Leonardo da Vinci art work. In fact, it was thought to be painted by one of da Vinci’s students and was once sold for just £45! It took 6 years and the commitment of international art experts for this painting to be restored and authenticated!
How did they find this painting?
In 2005, the painting was acquired by a group of art dealers who saw several signs that it was an original Leonardo da Vinci once they started restoring it. They saw several similarities in the technique of painting between the Salvator Mundi and the Mona Lisa.
Where is the painting now?
It is currently owned by an art collector in Europe. This collector has given it to Christie’s Auction House to sell in auction on 15 November, 2017, where it is expected to fetch at least $100 million!