I left Salvator Mundi looking forward to a review of the unprecedented Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan exhibition at National Gallery of London from from 9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012.  I was sure the Guardian would have one since it had had a ton of coverage about it since May 2011.

Lo and behold, I was reminded of this today by The Economist’s Prospero blog in a post titledYes, it’s worth it

St Jerome, Leornardo di Vinci 1481 (unfinished)

PEOPLE who write about art exhibitions often see them before they open to the public. So we are accustomed to friends and strangers asking:

“Is it good?”

But since “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” opened at London’s National Gallery in early November, a new question keeps coming up:

“Is it worth it?”

At first this question struck me as odd, even shocking. After all, this really is a once in a lifetime chance to see so many paintings by one of the greatest painters in the history of Western art. Some 18 paintings by Leonardo survive; half of them are on view. They have come from Prague, Rome, Krakow and St Petersburg. …

For these reason alone—and there are others—for anybody who cares about art, the answer to the question “Is it worth it?” is a blindingly obvious:


There was no mention of the Salvator Mundi but after seeing Lady with an Ermine (from Intelligent Life) and da Vinci’s unfinished “but searing” Saint Jerome the correspondent had a better appreciation for the artist.

The Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo di Vinci 1481 (Louvre)

The rest of the post is about how it’s the hottest ticket in town and gossip columnists have reported on the fashionable people who are desperate to prove they have not missed out.  

The correspondent congratulates the National Gallery for its decision to hold back 500 admission tickets for sale every morning of the exhibition. Bring a folding chair: lines  start forming at 7 or 7:30,  the museum’s doors open at 10am and there might be a four-hour wait beyond that.

At the end we are told to Read more: Deciphering the da Vinci code (Nov. 2011)

NOTE:  This is how I know that for the first time both versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, one the National Gallery owns and the other belonging to the Louvre, are shown together. Upon further reading, I may add to this post or continue on another.

NOTE II: Prospero’s feature photo  (via the Guardian) on the aforementioned post.  Not even one person brought a folding chair.

“Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan”, London’s National Gallery, photo credit Guardian