Scandals

How the most expensive painting in history caused a scandal in the art market

In France, a documentary film about the film “The Savior of the World” by Leonardo da Vinci is being released. Its authors promise to shed light on the political machinations associated with the most expensive painting in the world.

A new feature-length documentary, which will premiere on 5 on April 13, claims that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman forced the Louvre to lie about the authenticity of a painting he bought to avoid public humiliation, as he spent $450 million on a fake.

French director Antoine Witkin’s film “The Saviour for Sale” is an investigation into how a controversial portrait of Jesus Christ, dubbed the “male Mona Lisa,” was held hostage by backroom deals between and Saudi Arabia.

The painting “Savior of the World” entered world art history in 2017 when about a thousand collectors, dealers, and spectators gathered in the main auction hall of Rockefeller Center in New York, and the oldest auction house Christie’s sold the painting for a record $450 million, making it the most expensive in the world.

The huge public interest — 120,000 art fans followed the auction through a live feed-and the incredibly high final bid reflected the extreme rarity of Leonardo da Vinci’s original works. Despite the huge fame and influence of the Italian master, there are currently less than 20 paintings that are believed to have been painted by him, and all of them are part of museum collections. Christie’s called the painting “the greatest artistic discovery of the last 100 years.”

The first doubts about the authenticity of the “Savior of the World” arose when the Louvre Abu Dhabi (an ambitious cultural project designed by Jean Nouvel and received from the great French museum the right to share the name “Louvre” with it for 30 years. — Forbes) suddenly changed his mind to exhibit the painting in September 2018. It has not been shown publicly since.



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