Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for $450m at auction, smashing records.
Salvator Mundi, a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, holds the world record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction – but now a University of Oxford art historian has said he doesn’t think it is by the Renaissance master.
The painting, which sold for $450m (£335m) in November, has had its attribution contested by Oxford research fellow Matthew Landrus, believes the work was largely painted by an assistant of Leonardo’s, Bernandino Luini.
Speaking to the Standard, Landrus said, “The view in this case is that the Salvator Mundi is a studio product that was finished by Leonardo, albeit begun by Luini, and potentially other studio assistants… The assessment is essentially a comparison with Luini’s paintings, which are stylistically similar and relate to the time period of Luini’s work with Leonardo.”
Landrus, who said that he was “100% certain that the painting was the work of Luini and Leonardo”, also claimed that Leonardo only painted “20 or 30 per cent” of the artwork.
“I think Leonardo provided the design for this version of the Salvator Mundi, and design of the details, and had several versions of the painting in production at the same time. He was also responsible for finishing the atmosphere of the painting, the face, hands, and crystal ball, and some of the tracery on the vestment.”
Landrus will address Salvator Mundi’s attribution in an update of his 2006 book Leonardo da Vinci, which is set to be published in September this year. The publication coincides with the painting’s first public exhibition since its record breaking sale, as it goes on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi next month.