Leonardo da Vinci professional declines to lower back Salvator Mundi as his painting


One of the world’s leading specialists on Leonardo da Vinci has criticized Christie’s public sale residence for wrongly suggesting in its cataloging of the Salvator Mundi that she was among students who had attributed the photograph to the Renaissance master.

Dr. Carmen Bambach, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, informed the Guardian: “That isn’t representative of my opinion.”

In 2008, she was amongst pupils invited by way of the National Gallery in London to view the painting. In 2017, Christie’s New York offered it for a document-breaking $450m (£356m), having listed her in its cataloging as amongst students whose “study and examination of the portray … led to a broad consensus that the Salvator Mundi became painted through Leonardo”.


But, in her forthcoming 4-extent look at the polymath – a giant venture spanning greater than 1m words and 1,500 photographs – Bambach attributes maximum of the photo to Leonardo’s assistant Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, with best “small retouchings” by way of the master himself.

The picture changed into included within the National Gallery’s 2011 Leonardo exhibition, and Christie’s defined it as the creative rediscovery of the twenty-first century, even as its whereabouts have remained a mystery due to the fact closing 12 months’ unveiling on the Abu Dhabi Louvre changed into canceled.

Bambach discovered her wonder at being contacted with the aid of the National Gallery in advance this month: “I got an e-mail request, whether or not I could conform to have my call launched a number of the students who noticed the Salvator Mundi in 2008.

“I actually have no longer desired to answer because I do not need to be listed among people that stated ‘sure’ because I wasn’t virtually asked what I thought about the Salvator Mundi on time. If my call is added to that listing, it will be a tacit statement that I accept as true with Leonardo’s attribution. I do not.”

Michael Daley, director of ArtWatch UK, the restoration watchdog, also doubts the attribution to Leonardo. He defined the email to Bambach as “a disturbing improvement.” He stated: “It shows either that the National Gallery is still campaigning to illustrate professional guide on behalf of the attribution, at a time while the Louvre is finding it difficult to get loans for its massive Leonardo display, or that the National Gallery’s gift board is disturbed and searching for clarifications at the … nature of the gallery’s in advance involvements.”

He introduced: “The National Gallery ought to by no means have proven a portray that become available on the market and being proven to museums – and which no museum would buy at that point.”

Bambach’s attribution is primarily based on severa factors, consisting of the photograph’s unique condition, having seen it “completely stripped” even as it became present process recovery in 2007. “I recognize how broken the portray is.”

She also demanding situations claims that the image was painted around 1500. It might have been in Charles I’s collection: “It can’t be documented completely till the center of the 19th century.”

Acknowledging the sale charge, she said: “In my opinion, it became now not an awesome investment.”
Her look at Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered could be posted on 25 June by way of Yale University Press.

The Queen’s Gallery in London has opened a major exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, showing extra than 2 hundred of the artist’s finest drawings within the Royal Collection.
Bambach’s numerous discoveries consist of a small material study in the Royal Collection, wherein it becomes described as from Leonardo’s workshop. Aided with clinical studies, she has now related it to a Leonardo painting within the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Declining to comment on its e-mail to Bambach or her attribution, the National Gallery said: “[We make] careful consideration before along with any loan in an exhibition … [We weigh] up the advantage in inclusive of it – the gain to the public in seeing the work, the gain to the argument and scholarship of the exhibition as an entire.

“On that occasion, we felt that it would be of high-quality hobby to consist of Salvator Mundi in [the exhibition] Leonardo da Vinci: Painter of the Court of Milan as a discovery because it becomes an important opportunity to check a new attribution using direct comparison with works universally usual as Leonardo’s.”

A Christie’s spokeswoman said: “The attribution to Leonardo become hooked up almost 10 years previous to sale through a panel of a dozen pupils and become reconfirmed on the time of sale in 2017. While we understand that this painting is a topic of vast public opinion, no new discussion or hypothesis since the 2017 sale at Christie’s has precipitated us to revisit its function.”