Salvator Mundi, a painting depicting Jesus, is the most expensive work of art in the world. At an auction in 2017, this painting broke a record sale with a price of US $ 450 million purchased by a Prince of Saudi Arabia.
The painting is believed to be the long-lost work of Leonardo da Vinci. But the painting is thought to be not the actual work of da Vinci, but a painting of his student.
During the painting process, da Vinci supervised and approved it. Da Vinci only wrote a few brush strokes on the painting.
Reporting from The Sun, the demotion of the painting was first disclosed by The Art Newspaper. That would likely slash the painting’s legendary value.
The painting was officially purchased by Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family. London’s prestigious National Gallery presented the painting as a bona fide da Vinci in 2011. But art curator and historian Vincent Delieuvin claims parts of the Jesus Salvator Mundi are of very poor quality.
Madrid’s Prado Museum, where Salvator Mundi is displayed, this month listed it in its catalog for an exhibition called “Leonardo and a copy of the Mona Lisa”.
“There were times when Leonardo found it difficult to paint because of his perfectionism and many other works. His students did the work for him,” the catalog reads.
Paintings are divided into two categories, by Leonardo and works attributed to or authorized and supervised by Leonardo. Now Salvator Mundi is in the second category.
The portrait depicting Christ as the savior of the world was made circa 1500. The painting disappeared for several centuries before being traded repeatedly and appearing at a New Orleans auction in 2005.