The Lost Leonardo

The doc on the controversial male Mona Lisa gets its money’s worth.

I’m sorry if I’m late with this review of the new documentary of “The Lost Leonardo,” but I was on a tight schedule and couldn’t squeeze it in. But now, I’ve finally found the time to see it, and it is an interesting doc about a painting that came of the shadows after 500 years.

We meet Alexander Parish, the Sleeper Hunter, who looks for mistakes in paintings, and comes across a painting: the Salvator Mundi, which has Jesus Christ positioning his fingers in the sign of the cross, while holding an orb in the other hand.

It’s a little damaged, and when the art restorer Dianne Modestini cleans it, she discovers things in the picture that were covered. Like a thumb movement or a beard or maybe the same lip position as the Mona Lisa. That means it could be a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, maybe even the last. This has art critics, dealers, and fans in question about whether or not it was.

So, they restored it, and showed it at art museum in London, 2008. And while tickets have been sold and excitement emerges, cynicism has to drop in. Some can tell it’s no Leonardo, because of how Jesus positioned his fingers in the portrait.

Nonetheless, it gets bought and sold by other dealers, and the price goes higher. It needs to be shipped and stored within a Freeport. You have no idea how valuable and fragile this painting is, as well as some of the other great masterpieces. At this point, the picturesque beauty is not the object; money is. $450 million dollars worth; that’s expensive and a record. And the Saudi Prince was the mystery buyer, who placed it on a luxury yacht, and refused to share it at the Louvre’s exhibition, because the museum refused to have it next to the Mona Lisa.

Then comes the art dealer Yves Bouvier, who was accused of defrauding his clients by misrepresenting the original costs of the paintings and overcharging them in what was known as the “Bouvier Affair.”

I’m not art critic nor a dealer, so I can’t read their minds, but I did catch on to the facts that the painting has its own “Black Beauty” story as it ends up with one character after another. “The Lost Leonardo” is a movie made by and for people who love art, and who understand the greed within them. It’s about the optimistic and cynical attitudes toward the Salvator Mundi, and how original the painting is.

Directed by Andreas Koefoed, this doc is about the mystery and speculation of the painting. No documents and no facts make this painting debatable by every art lover, and I suppose some of the best mysteries are left unsolved.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: Documentary

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