14 May 2012

The Lost Treasure ...

Salvator Mundi is a painting of Christ, recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, who is known to have painted the subject. It was lost and recently rediscovered.
The Salvator Mundi [Saviour of the World] was uncovered by New York art historian Dr. Robert Simon, who orchestrated a careful scientific analysis and restoration of the painting.

The painting depicts Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding a globe. It is painted in oil on a wood panel and measures 26 by 18 1/2 inches in size.

 Louis XII started negotiating with Leonardo in 1506 and the painting was finished by 1513. It was delivered after the Queen's death and so Louis decided he would donate it to the religious order connected with her in Nantes. A century later Queen Henrietta Maria of England saw the painting and had an etching made of it by Hollar, to add to a series of famous paintings he was doing for her. In the nineteenth century the convent was dissolved and the painting sold on to Baron de Lareinty of Paris; he had it until 1902 when it was again sold, this time to Comtesse de BĂ©hague. It has remained in the family having been passed onto the nephew and then to the son, Jean Louis de Ganay.

Various tests and close examination has convinced experts this painting is genuine. Monochromatic sodium lighting, infra-red and ultra-violet tests were performed and, along with x-rays, these have revealed a number of interesting details:

The pearls around the jewel have been altered.
A cross has been removed from the orb.
Leonardo deviated from his basic sketch very little. Infra-red tests showed up the original sketch behind the painting.
X-rays show the paint has been applied in layers on a wooden base. This technique was used often by Leonardo during his last five years of work.
A thick coat of varnish has been added.

The nut wood used for Salvator Mundi is the same used on St. John the Baptist. The triangular composition, light angles, facial shadows and hair swirls are typical of many of Leonardo's paintings, while the colours used are reminiscent of the Last Supper.

I can almost hear Jesus saying ... "I am the Light of the world.".

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