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In 2017, the highest price ever was paid for a painting: $450 million USD. The object of desire? ‘Salvator Mundi’, an early 16th century portrait attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci. Note the word attributed, for scepticism about its authenticity circled the event – was this the real deal? And where is the work now?
‘Salvator Mundi’ was resurrected from obscurity in 2005, where it was bought for only $1,175 in disrepair and described as by one of Da Vinci’s distant followers. It was then handed to an art restorer who noticed a telltale detail – the absence of a line delineating the subject’s lip, just like in the ‘Mona Lisa’. This is a Da Vinci, she declared.
Not all however, were convinced; scepticism stewed. The work changed hands before landing on the desk of Christie’s, the auction house responsible for achieving the $450 million USD result. In a genius marketing move, they dubbed it “the male ‘Mona Lisa’. But who bought ‘Salvator Mundi’? Perhaps a prince, perhaps someone else.
In his work, ‘after Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi’, Philippe Le Miere conjures this bizarre tale. His work is less about art history per se, and more bitingly about the art market. A space where optics matter more than aesthetics, of distending data and intrigue, anonymous billionaires and fortunes made and lost by the line of a lip. ‘Salvator Mundi’ translates to Saviour of the World. But under the bright auction lights, one must ask: which world is saved? And who will claim this brave new world?
For collectors of Pop and contemporary art, as well as all those entranced by a good story, ‘after Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi’ promises to captivate. Philippe LE MIERE (1975 - )'after Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi' 2021acrylic on canvasImage Size: 51 x 38 cm Dimensions: 51 x 38 cm Signed: Signed lower right Le Miere, inscribed verso Philippe Le Miere, title and dateComes with Letter of ProvenanceWork of art comes unframed to allow for safe and economical shipping. Contact us if you would like to arrange for this to be professionally framed.Condition: As New© The Artist or Assignee
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