Salvator Mundi - National Gallery statement

July 13 2011

Image of Salvator Mundi - National Gallery statement

Picture: Robert Simon/Tim Nighswander

Here's the statement from the National Gallery on the Salvator Mundi:

The painting Salvator Mundi will be shown at The National Gallery, London, exhibition: Leonardo da Vinci: Painter of the Court of Milan from 9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012. 

Leonardo is known to have painted the Salvator Mundi – an image of Christ holding a globe, with his right hand raised in blessing. The version in a private collection in New York was shown after cleaning to the Director of the National Gallery and to the Curator of the exhibition as well as to other scholars in the field. We felt that it would be of great interest to include this painting in the exhibition as a new discovery. It will be presented as the work of Leonardo, and this will obviously be an important opportunity to test this new attribution by direct comparison with works universally accepted as Leonardo’s. A separate press release on the Salvator Mundi is issued by the owner.

I can't immediately think of another major gallery that has included a newly discovered work found by a dealer in a blockbuster exhibition. It is a bold step by the National and its director, Nicholas Penny. Museums in some other countries, such as France, would probably recoil in horror. Personally, I cannot applaud the National enough for including the picture in the exhibition. It is a fitting recognition of the role that we dealers, and their discoveries, can play in advancing art history. 

Jonathan Jones in the Guardian has, typically, the best piece on the story here

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