Later this 12 months, the Louvre in Paris will host an exhibition of masterpieces by using the Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci to mark his dying 500 years ago in France
But the paintings that in recent months has been the acute recognition of scrutiny via the media and da Vinci specialists, might not be on display.
In 2017, “Salvator Mundi” changed into offered at auction by means of Christie’s as work with the aid of da Vinci for a document $450 million. But it has not been displayed in public since, triggering doubts about its ownership, its whereabouts, and its authenticity.
The painting, a portrait of Jesus, changed into to go on display on the Louvre Abu Dhabi in September last year. But its unveiling changed into postponed by the museum with none explanation.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has saved tight-lipped approximately the identification of the client, pronouncing most effective that the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism had “received” it.
And the thriller has further deepened beforehand of a visit by Italian President Sergio Mattarella who will be part of France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday on a ride to the Loire Valley to mark the anniversary of da Vinci’s loss of life there in 1519, on the age of 67.
“The Louvre has requested the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the portray to accept on loan,” a Louvre spokesperson told AFP.
“But we’ve got no longer but had any response.”
Proscribed with the aid of Islam?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the buyer of the photograph turned into Saudi prince Badr ben Abdallah, acting inside the call of effective Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He has by no means confirmed or denied the record.
Prince Badr was appointed to go the dominion’s culture ministry in a central authority shakeup in June.
Saudi Arabia and the neighboring United Arab Emirates are very close allies who are each engaged militarily inside the conflict against rebels in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) is likewise a close confidant of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed who in conjunction with Macron opened the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2017, the primary overseas institution to hold the call of the first rate Paris museum.
The painting’s disappearance comes as MBS’s worldwide recognition has taken a battering over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, wherein he denies any involvement.
Artprice, the main artwork market records carrier, stated clerics from Sunni Islam’s main authority the Al Azhar college in Cairo instructed MBS the portray couldn’t be displayed on non-secular grounds.
Jesus is visible as a prophet within Islam, which prohibits any physical depiction of God. But the photograph portrays him as a savior and therefore a deity.
‘Nothing with the aid of Leonardo’
Many art specialists remain unconvinced of the portray’s authenticity.
“Certain info is very telling,” said Jacques Franck, an expert in da Vinci’s method, pointing to the terrible depiction of a finger and different factors which are “anatomically not possible”.
He stated that on the time the canvas was painted, da Vinci had his workshop entire certain artwork because he himself had very little time.
Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, another da Vinci professional, additionally believes the portray changed into not completed through the Italian master.
“When you analyze the details, nothing is via Leonardo, it does not have his spirit.”
Ben Lewis, an art historian who wrote: “The Last Leonardo” said London’s National Gallery, which exhibited the painting in 2011, had no longer taken on board the advice of five specialists who have been despatched to authenticate the portray.
Although of them believed it become actual, another didn’t, and the others were uncertain. But the portray become supplied on the exhibition as an authentic painting by means of Leonardo da Vinci.
But Diane Modestini, who worked at the healing of the painting from 2005, stated she did now not recognize the controversy, insisting that “Leonardo da Vinci painted it”.
A Christie’s spokesman stated, “We stand through the thorough research and scholarship that caused the attribution of this painting in 2010. No new discussion or hypothesis since the 2017 sale at Christie’s has triggered us to revisit its position.”
‘Reputation and credibility’
The Louvre says its exhibition, because of open in Paris within the autumn, will carry together “a unique institution of artistic endeavors that most effective the Louvre ought to deliver together” further to its very own fantastic Leonardo series.
But whether people could be able to draw their own conclusions by means of actually seeing the “Salvator Mundi” stays to be seen.
“If the Louvre has nevertheless not obtained a response (from Abu Dhabi) months before the exhibition, it’s far due to the fact the work will now not be exhibited there,” stated Franck.