Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci c. 1490 -- Exhibition Catalogue cover

This is an exciting find for me and I’ll explain how the discovery came about in a second, but big news first:  Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan.  The most complete display of da Vinci’s rare surviving paintings is showing at the National Gallery of London from 9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012.

This unprecedented exhibition – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – brings together sensational international loans never before seen in the UK. While numerous exhibitions have looked at Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, scientist or draughtsman, this is the first to be dedicated to his aims and techniques as a painter.

As we’ll recall, Leonardo da Vinci pioneered the use of light and dark paints to define three-dimensional shape which became known as chiaroscuro.

A Long Lost Leonardo — ARTnews

ARTnews is the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world. Its website is ‘saved to favorites’ because it can be an idea machine when looking for post ideas and such was the case the other day. It’s hard not to notice Salvatore Mundi, so I clicked on the link above and here is the crux of what it said on 8 August 2011:

The work is owned by a consortium of dealers, including Robert Simon, a specialist in Old Masters in New York and Tuxedo Park, N.Y. It was bought at an auction in the United States in 2005.

When ARTnews first broke the story of the discovery on June 22, Simon declined to comment about the painting, the price, or how it was acquired. “I’ve been asked not to discuss it,” he said.

On July 8, Simon issued a news release through a public relations company confirming the story.He stated that the study and examination of the painting by a number of scholars “resulted in an unequivocal consensus that the Salvator Mundi was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and that it is the single original painting from which the many copies and versions depend. 

Salvatore Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci c. 1500 Oil on Walnut Panel

On 09 July 2011, Bloomberg went on to say: 

A rediscovered Leonardo Da Vinci painting, valued by dealers at a record $200 million, is no longer for sale. The work is due to be included in an exhibition at London’s National Gallery starting in November.

The image of Christ, once owned by King Charles I, was acquired in the mid-2000s by the American art dealer Alex Parish and is currently owned by a group comprising him and at least two other traders, according to two persons with knowledge of the matter who declined to be named.

“There were some discussions with a museum concerning the possible acquisition of the painting, but it hasn’t been offered for many months,” said the New York-based private dealer Robert Simon. “I’ve assured the National Gallery that the painting isn’t on the market and that there are no plans to sell it after the exhibition.”

As Felix Salmon would say, “And so we enter the murky world of art-world rumor,” or so he said when  Christie’s expected to sell a 1986 Andy Warhol Self-Portrait for up to $40 million at its May 11th auction in New York.

He may also have something to say about the upcoming da Vinci exhibition. If not, I’m sure the Guardian will because its had a ton of coverage about Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan  since May.

I’m looking forward to a review of this unprecedented exhibition!