Lot da Vinci: why is the most expensive painting in the world may be a fake

© AP Photo / Julie JacobsonПродажа of Leonardo da Vinci’s the Savior of the world at auction at Christie’s in new York. 15 Nov 2017Lot da Vinci: why is the most expensive painting in the world may be a fake© AP Photo / Julie Jacobson

Almost half a billion dollars given unknown buyer for the last remaining in private hands, the painting of the great Leonardo da Vinci. The sale of paintings «the Savior of the world», which until then belonged to the Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, was preceded by an unprecedented art-world public relations campaign: a month before the auction auction house Christie’s posted a picture in a real tour. Look at the «discovery of the century» the crowd lined up in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and new York. Appealed to conservative art dealers to modern technology, YouTube has a series of videos about unique work of art.

For a genuine da Vinci original price (estimate) remained fairly modest $ 100 million. Most likely, the reason is that the ownership history of a painting (provenance) is very vague.

The last owner of the «Savior of the world» was a Russian businessman and collector Dmitry Rybolovlev, a couple of years ago was at the center of the scandal. The former owner of «Uralkali» accused the machinations of his Swiss art dealer, Yves Bouvier — he bought works of art for the collection Rybolovlev at fair value, and resell them to the customer with a huge margin. For example, «Savior of the world» Bouvier bought for $ 80 million, and Rybolovlev was laid out for the canvas 127,5 million.

In the end, the businessman accused the dealer that overpaid for his collection twice. Now between Rybolovlev and Bouvier are prosecuted, and the luckless gatherer is gradually selling off the scandal collection.

From 45 pounds to 450 million dollars

Tonight at 7pm in New York: watch a live stream of our Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on our website 👉 christies.com, or Facebook page 👉 facebook.com/christies. Or, follow the highlights here on Instagram Stories.. Leonardo da Vinci ‘Salvator Mundi’. Oil on panel, 25 ⅞ x 18 in.. Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale – November 15 at Christie’s New York.. #leonardodavinci #davinci #salvatormundi #rediscovery #art #artist #painting #portrait

Publication from Christie’s (@christiesinc) Nov 15 2017 9:43 PST

Motives Rybolovlev for sale «Savior of the world» is clear: he needed the money. And the result, I think, exceeded expectations. Now to the businessman it will be difficult to prove in court that he was a loser after deals with Bouvier. Back in 1958, when the painting first appeared at Sotheby’s, but it was not attributed to the brush of da Vinci, the seller managed to rescue him just 45 pounds.

The painting was first mentioned in official documents only in the XVII century. According to the study of the organization ArtWatch, further transitions «Savior of the world» from one owner to another for the next four centuries are confirmed by the rather vague wording: «purchased», «probably belongs to descendant», «allegedly brought the painting to England with you», «could have inherited».

Secondly, there is no evidence that da Vinci ever got the order for this picture: the master, known for his leisurely work on graphic art works, was busy with mathematical studies and several large paintings, including the legendary Giocondo.

Finally, the well-known German expert on the works of Leonardo Frank Zollner resulted serious arguments in favor of the fact that «the Savior of the world» — not a painting of da Vinci himself, and the work of pupils of his workshop. However, the findings of Zollner was not included in the Christie’s catalog.

The easiest and most convincing way to dispel doubts would be to conduct a thorough technical and chemical expertise, the benefit of modern technology greatly advanced in this sphere. However, this is what Christie’s do not have, jeopardize not only the reputation of the prestigious auction house, but also in the art business. After all, if the new owner of the «Savior of the world» will find that he gave 450 million for the work of the apprentice, the art market will collapse.