Leonardo da vinci Salvator Mundi
Title: Salvator Mundi
Year: c. 1499-1510
Size: 45.4 x 65.6 cm
Medium: Oil on walnut panel
Location: Mohammed bin Salman (owner), Saudi Arabia
The Salvator Mundi painting is a 1499 to 1510 artwork ascribed in whole or in part to the Italian High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. In Latin, what does Salvator Mundi means “Savior of the World.” The 45 cm eerie oil-on-panel painting features a half-length figure of Christ facing front, dressed as the Savior of the World in an outdated blue Renaissance robe. The painting depicted Christ gazing fixedly at the viewer, lightly beardless with an auburn ringlet, making the sign of the cross with his right hand while holding a translucent, non-refracting crystal orb in his left, signaling his role as the Salvator Mundi and representing the heavens and the ‘Celestial Sphere’.
Who is Salvator Mundi?
Leonardo depicts Christ as he is described in the Gospel of John chapter 4 verse 14: ‘And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the World.’ Although Leonardo did not paint Christ as the Salvator Mundi, he did do two drawings for the topic, and there is an etching by Wenceslaus Hollar from 1650, as well as several reproductions and modifications by his students and followers. In 1964, Ludwig Heydenreich made an analysis of existing material and declared that there was a lost prototype. Maria Teresa Fiorio proposed in 2005 that the original artwork was never completed by Leonardo and that the derivations were from drawings and animation.
Leonardo may have painted “Salvator Mundi” for King Louis XII of France and his spouse, Anne of Brittany. It was most likely built shortly after the conquests of Milan and Genoa.
Around 1500, the Salvator Mundi, a half-length portrait of Christ holding a crystal ball in one hand, was made. The credit for the severely over-painted canvas has been given to Boltraffio, an artist who worked in da Vinci’s studio, since 1900. It wasn’t until the work was acquired by Paris and subjected to thorough cleaning and research that it was determined to be an original da Vinci painting.
It was next seen at a Sotheby’s auction in England in 1958, where it sold for £45 (about $125 at the time). It then vanished until 2005, when it was purchased at a modest US auction house.
Salvator Mundi original painting
According to studies, Da Vinci was obsessed with science, and the Salvatore Mundi painting is a confirmation of this. Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi includes rather than belies his scientific grasp of optics, as evidenced by excellent graphic renderings by computer scientists from the University of California, Berkeley. Art historians agree that the glass orb in the picture represents the world. The orb, however, does not refract light in the same manner that a glass sphere would. Some art historians feel this demonstrates da Vinci never painted it. Biographer Walter Isaacson speculates that eliminating distortion was a purposeful choice by the artist in another explanation for the riddle of da Vinci’s orb. He claims that da Vinci intended to demonstrate the supernatural character of his subject matter by circumventing the natural rules of optics.
Some consider the Salvator Mundi to be a contentious picture. Following its sale in 2017 as a previously lost Leonardo da Vinci for $450.3 million—the highest price paid for a work of art at auction to date—the artwork became the subject of intensive examination. The reason for the attention could have been the obviously extravagant amount paid for a picture with a number of major flaws that, in theory, should have held its auction price in control.
The Salvator Mundi’s poor condition, dubious authorship, and uncertain history are among these difficulties. Even after restoration, the painting does not elicit the same level of contemplation or adoration as Leonardo’s other works. The painting was compared to and discovered after it had been cleaned and restored, by Salman