PARIS: Later this 12 months, the Louvre in Paris will host an exhibition of masterpieces by way of the Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci to mark his demise 500 years ago in France
But the work that during the latest months has been the acute recognition of scrutiny through the media and da Vinci professionals, won’t be on the show.
In 2017, “Salvator Mundi” was sold at auction through Christie’s like a piece by da Vinci for a document $450 million. But it has no longer been displayed in public considering the fact that, triggering doubts approximately its possession, it is whereabouts, and its authenticity.
The portray, a portrait of Jesus, was to head on display on the Louvre Abu Dhabi in September remaining 12 months. But its unveiling changed into postponed by the museum with none explanation.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has kept tight-lipped about the identity of the buyer, pronouncing best that the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism had “acquired” it.
And the thriller has similarly deepened in advance of a go-to by Italian President Sergio Mattarella who will be part of France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday on a trip to the Loire Valley to mark the anniversary of da Vinci’s death there in 1519, at the age of 67.
“The Louvre has asked the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi for the painting to receive on loan,” a Louvre spokesperson informed AFP.
“But we have now not yet had any response.”
Proscribed by Islam?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the consumer of the picture became Saudi prince Badr ben Abdallah, acting within the name of effective Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He has by no means confirmed or denied the report.
Prince Badr became appointed to move the kingdom’s way of life ministry in a government shakeup in June.
Saudi Arabia and the neighboring United Arab Emirates are very close allies who’re each engaged militarily in the conflict towards rebels in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Salman (referred to as MBS) is also a near confidant of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed who along with Macron opened the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2017, the primary foreign institution to hold the call of the extraordinary Paris museum.
The portray’s disappearance comes as MBS’s international popularity has taken a battering over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, in which he denies any involvement.
Artprice, the main art marketplace statistics service, stated clerics from Sunni Islam’s main authority the Al Azhar University in Cairo instructed MBS the portray couldn’t be displayed on nonsecular grounds.
Jesus is visible as a prophet inside Islam, which prohibits any physical depiction of God. But the picture portrays him as a savior and as a result a deity.
‘Nothing by using Leonardo’
Many artwork experts remain unconvinced of the painting’s authenticity.
“Certain information are very telling,” stated Jacques Franck, a expert in da Vinci’s method, pointing to the poor depiction of a finger and other factors that are “anatomically impossible”.
He stated that at the time the canvas changed into painted, da Vinci had his workshop entire certain artwork because he himself had very little time.
Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, every other da Vinci professional, additionally believes the painting turned into no longer done through the Italian master.
“When you examine the details, not anything is by using Leonardo, it doesn’t have his spirit.”
Ben Lewis, an artwork historian who wrote: “The Last Leonardo” stated London’s National Gallery, which exhibited the portray in 2011, had no longer taken on board the advice of 5 experts who were despatched to authenticate the portray.
Although of them believed it changed into real, every other didn’t, and the others were unsure. But the painting turned into provided at the exhibition as a true work by Leonardo da Vinci.
But Diane Modestini, who worked on the healing of the painting from 2005, said she did now not understand the controversy, insisting that “Leonardo da Vinci painted it”.
A Christie’s spokesman stated, “We stand by way of the thorough studies and scholarship that brought about the attribution of this portray in 2010. No new dialogue or speculation because the 2017 sale at Christie’s has brought about us to revisit its position.”
‘Reputation and credibility’
The Louvre says its exhibition, because of open in Paris in the autumn, will carry collectively “a completely unique organization of works of art that simplest the Louvre may want to carry collectively” in addition to its very own incredible Leonardo collection.
But whether human beings may be able to draw their own conclusions with the aid of in reality seeing the “Salvator Mundi” remains to be seen.
“If the Louvre has still not received a reaction (from Abu Dhabi) months earlier than the exhibition, it’s far because the paintings will now not be exhibited there,” said Franck.