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Martin Kemp about the mysterious Salvator Mundi


-Part I

Short and interesting facts


-Part II

Martin Kemp about the Salvator Mundi


-Part III


Part I

Why Martin Kemp thinks the Salvator mundi is legit & interesting facts:

-The orb displayed shows the characteristics of rock crystal. In fact Leonardo da Vinci showed great interest in minerals like rock crystal. Especially the ones that showed optical effects.

The small inclusions in the rock crystal allude to the fixed stars as the outermost borders of the universe.

Outside the universe stands infinity represented as god. A place which cannot be reached by humans according to Leonardo.

- The hair is painted like a living substance. Almost like water as Leonardo thought hair and water share a similar vortex.

-The refined anatomical structure of the hand is correct.

-The painting shows a depth of field. Parts of the painting appear sharper, some appear more blurry as it can be experienced by spectating real world objects.

We know that Leonardo was investigating the characteristics of depth of field.

- 4/5 of da Vincis overall output is unaccounted which means that in the future new discoveries including paintings and manuscripts are possible.

- The exact creation date of Salvator Mundi is unknown.

Part II

Martin Kemp on Salvator Mundi

We know from sketches that da Vinci was indeed planning a salvator mundi.

However some 20 versions are known so why is Martin Kemp assuming that one of them is the one painted by Leonardo Da Vinci?

One of the many hints is that the sphere shown in the picture is made out of a specific, semi-precious gem stone. It is known that da Vinci showed great interest in minerals especially those with optical properties. Rock crystal as portrait in the painting with its characteristic inclusions is one of them. It makes the version Kemp believes to be the original one special because it is the only one using this special gem stone. The small inclusions in the rock crystal are an indication to the fixed stars in the universe. Beyond the outermost borders there is infinity seen as god. 

The great detail of the hair almost appears to be of a fluid character. It connects to da Vincis believe that the vortex of water and curled hair show similar properties.

The subtle but anatomical correct structure of the hand is another hint. During a detailed analysis of the painting hand prints over the right eyebrow were found. A byproduct of a technique used by da Vinci to achieve a smoother color graduation. However this technique could have been copied by others altough it is highly unlikely.

How the work was discovered


In April 2005 in the city of Louisiana (New Orleans) there was a picture set for an online auction. The colors and shades appeared dull. Overall it made an unimpressive appearance. Nevertheless, it got the attention of the two befriended dealers Robert Simon and Alexander Parish. By then what they believed was that they found nothing more than a fairly old picture. In the auction it went for 10000$. In fact the formal owner of the artwork turned out to be the furniture dealer Warren E Kuntz who believed it was of only minor value, buying it for 45 GBP (translating to around 1050GBP in 2020)  in 1958 as a single piece from an art collection.

After he won the auction Mr. Simon gave it to a world renowned conservator in New York. There it got clear during the process that it was covered by an enormous amount of overpaint over what now appeared to be the original picture.

After the restoration a consortium including Alexander Perish offered it to Londons National Gallery. However after an exhibition in 2011 as a trustee of the National Gallery it was sold to Yves Bouvier for 93 Million dollars. As an art dealer he had in mind to sell it to a particular person to make a profit from it. That person was Dimitri Rybolowlew. He sold it to him for 127.5 Million dollars. What Rybolowlew didn't know was that Bouviers function was not that of a middleman between the National Gallery and him. Rather Bouvier bought it from the National Gallery and sold it with a big profit to Rybolowlew.

What followed was a lawsuit. Rybolowlew accused Bouvier of fraud and it turned out that he was so disgusted by Bouviers move that he sold his latest possession at an auction at Christy's for 450 Million dollars including fees.


The remaining

Rumors said it went to the middle east as it was promised to be part of the Louvre exhibition in Abu Dhabi.


What we believe apart from Martin Kemps analysis is that the picture is not publicly displayed  because there is still a debate going on of whether the picture is really by da Vinci or not. With public access to the picture the investigation could continue to at least some extent. And at the end the owner might lose a lot of money if he would ever consider selling it.

Part III





-Mystery of the Salvator Mundi | Art Investments | Showcase


-Leonardo's Salvator Mundi: Scholarship, Science and Skulduggery


-Rediscovering Leonardo's Salvator Mundi


-The Male "Mona Lisa"?: Art Historian Martin Kemp on Leonardo da Vinci's Mysterious "Salvator Mundi"

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