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Salvator Mundi

November 20, 2017

Given yesterdays momentous auction, and sale of Salvator Mundi for £400m my question to you is  - is it worth it? 

Some points for your consideration.

Rarity : there are  fewer than  20 Leonardo paintings. So it could be a trophy piece as you would be unlikely to find another Leonardo on the wall of one of your mates! ( even if you were a Russian billionaire)

Is it a good painting : critically it is a well liked work. Well it’s difficult to dislike as an art critic and to do so you would be in the minority. In the art world of critics and curators reputations are important, so you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the argument! It was painted using glazes over a few years and it ‘looks’ like a Da Vinci work.

Damage: it has been over painted - the Christ figure once had a beard. It has also been restored many times. The face is the most damaged area.

Authenticity: there is a good provenance. It was once owned by Charles 1. It is now generally accepted that it is by Leonardo. However it was previously thought to be from his ‘studio.’

Value: this could increase or decrease and it was sold for £50 in 1958. The value would fall by a few quid if it was later found to be a fake or rise if you found another buyer with some spare cash and a liking for a painting with a biblical theme and an old hippy holding an orb.

What would you do with it if you bought it: hide it away in a bank vault hoping that as a commodity it’s value will rise? Place it in a public museum and as the buyer take the plaudits for your altruism? Keep it in your back room so that you are the only viewer? 

Or as the Chapman Brothers did with some Goya etchings - convert it into a modern work - perhaps by adding a moustache - already been done - or a Tommy Cooper fez if it would fit. 

Ownership : We currently don’t know who bought it, but if you could would you buy it? 

 

 

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