The Discovery & Restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Long-Lost Painting “Salvator Mundi” | Robb Report

(soft choir music) – And so, ladies and gentlemen, we move to the Leonardo Da
Vinci, the Salvator Mundi, the masterpiece by Leonardo
of Christ the savior, previously in the collections
of three kings of England. (soaring instrumental music) – [Auctioneer] Who will give me 120? 130 million, 140 million is bid. At 140 million. – I always thought it would be the most expensive work of art ever sold. It’s incredible and unbelievably rare. Nothing conjures with
the name of Leonardo. We had tens of thousands of
people on three continents line up for hours in some cases, and people were tremendously
excited to see it. – I had a relationship
with the Salvator Mundi, and he had one with me. This was an incredibly powerful image, and it was like nothing
that I’ve ever worked on and I believe like nothing
that’s ever been painted. I’ve known Robert Simon
for a very long time, and Robert had purchased the painting. Some time, I think it
was in April of 2005, he called and asked if he
could bring a picture over that he had just purchased. And I asked Bob if he wanted
me to go ahead and clean it. It had very recent kind
of sticky varnish on it and some sloppy retouching
that also looked quite recent. – It was heavily overpainted, and it was still thought to be a copy, and it was sold for a
couple thousand dollars at an estate sale in Louisiana. It was found by a man named Alex Parish who then sold a share
of it to Robert Simon who is a very distinguished authority on Italian Renaissance paintings. Thought he must be crazy
when he said he thought he might have found a Leonardo Da Vinci, and they started having it cleaned, and at that point the quality of it really began to come through,
and they got quite excited and they brought in Dianne Modestini, who’s a very distinguished
restorer in New York. – I was not thinking,
“This is by Leonardo.” I was just concentrating
on what had to be done to make the picture legible, not to lose any of the original. It just didn’t enter my mind. It probably would have interfered with my ability and my
freedom to work on it and to develop kind of a
working relationship with it. We noticed that the panel
itself had a very large crack that ran the whole length of
the panel from top to bottom. It was a curve that went
right around the side of the Salvator Mundi’s head. And that was a kind of
horrifying thing to discover. The other parts of the painting
were preserved perfectly. – I had already been hearing rumors from Leonardo scholars who had seen it who were sort of hinting that they’d seen this kind of amazing thing. A consensus developed over time that this was, really
was this lost original that had been thought to have
disappeared for centuries. By the time he paints it around 1500, Leonardo is almost 50. He is the most famous artist in the world. There is an assumption
that it must have been for a very important patron. He used very, very precious materials, and he finishes it, which
he doesn’t do that often. He starts a lot and
abandons it along the way, but he finishes this. First absolutely known history of it is about a hundred years later when it’s in the collection
of Charles I of England. He dies hugely in debt,
and the Crown decides to give away much of his art collection in repayment of his debts. It’s given to a mason, it
would be the equivalent of an architect or a
builder, named John Stone in repayment for this debt. And nine years later when
the monarchy is restored and Charles II becomes king,
Parliament passes an act that says basically, “All
you people who’ve had debts “from the king and got stuff
from us, give it back.” And so it enters the
collection of Charles II. It then descends to his younger brother and successor, James II. His mistress is a woman
named Catherine Sedley, and they have a child together, and she inherits it from him. And then she marries the
First Duke of Buckingham who builds Buckingham
House, which eventually by their heirs is sold and
is now Buckingham Palace. And when the house is sold to the crown, the contents of it are sold
off at an auction in 1763. And at that point it just
completely disappears. We have no idea what happened. It’s sold as by Leonardo
but for a very small amount of money, and so it’s probable that even by that point the painting had been quite heavily overpainted. – I worked on it off
and on for five years. The cleaning was really
not particularly revelatory because the head had been
completely repainted. There was a beard. It looks quite grotesque. Wherever there were damages they just made this kind of red beard. But all of that was done, I don’t know, in the not-so-distant past,
and it came off very easily. – [Auctioneer] 286 million,
will you give me 290? I thought so. (crowd gasps) 300 million. – From 1763 we have no
idea from that point on what happens to it. Until the end of the 19th Century when it reappears and it’s sold to a very eminent British
collector, Francis Cook. But it’s sold as a copy
or a follower of Leonardo, and you can see it’s heavily overpainted. It was sort of just made
to look more masculine. I think it was probably
seen as more fitting by the 19th Century. And it remains in the Cook collection where nobody pays much
attention to it until 1958 when it’s sold at Sotheby’s
in London for 45 pounds. It’s bought by an American we think, and it ends up in collections in America until 2005 when it’s sold for, again, a very, very small amount of money as a copy in Louisiana. – It wasn’t until I was
at the very, very end of the restoration and
there was one retouch around the mouth which
was extremely difficult. I had a book about
technical investigations of the Mona Lisa, detailed reproductions, and one was just of the Mona Lisa’s mouth, so I actually cut the page out of the book and tacked it to my easel. That was the moment when
I had to say to myself, “Of course it’s by Leonardo because “nobody else paints this way.” This picture is a paradigm of everything that he knew technically about painting and much of what he thought about time, eternity, and the cosmos. It wasn’t just a portrait of Jesus Christ painted for the king. This was something that
became very important to him. – For those of you following online, you may not have heard it. The bid was 350, was
called on the telephone at 350 million the
Leonardo Salvator Mundi. – [Dianne] The fact that it went for so much money will protect it. – 370 million dollars,
ladies and gentlemen. 400 million. (crowd gasps) – I only care about it being protected and it being one of the
most important expressions in paint that Leonardo
left us about his thinking. So the price doesn’t matter. – In my dreams it’s sort of almost exactly what I thought it would sell for. I always thought it would
make the biggest price ever. So it was a trophy of the greatest rarity. – Leonardo Salvator Mundi
selling here at Christie’s. 400 million dollars is the
bid, and the piece is sold. (crowd cheers and applauds)

Comments 100

  • Khashoggi killer bought it !

  • Yawn, next

  • The glass orb. The perspective on it is wrong. Everything behind the glass orb should be upside down and backwards. It's not. DaVinci was a master of studying the natural world. To have a detail like that get past him is unusual to say the least. There's Something About This portrait that just isn't right. But I am no scholar.

  • Well i don't know about you guys but one guys junk is another mans 400 million!! Jesus!!! Now that's a pickers wet dream! 👍👍👍

  • It's gone missing again lol the showing of the painting in Abu Dhabi was postponed with no details, and it was supposed to be go on loan to Paris for some da Vinci show, but that was cancelled. I think it's because there is still strong suspicion it's not the original, which would make it worth around 1.5m not 400m! lol I

  • This painting is most certainly a fraud as presented.
    It is not by the hand of Leonardo.
    1. DaVinci was the foremost anatomy expert of his time. The neck of this subject looks more like someones butt. Impossible for an expert who dissected cadavers to learn every important muscle.
    2. Da Vinci was an scientist and expert on optics. The glass sphere is absolutely amateurish and defies norms of optics & science.
    3. The painting has been seriously re-worked by at least three artists to produce the "finished" painting.
    4. Christie's earned 15 million on commission alone and is not credible in stating its authenticity due to extreme prejudice .
    The Saudi Gentleman who bought this work is a fool and has been taken for his naive.

  • In the painting, the two fingers and thumb up on the hand with the last two fingers against the palm, is a symbol of a Mystic Metaphysician, Leonardo knew this because he was also a Mystic of the Great White Brotherhood.
    Master Mystic Amorifus FRC

  • I come from a long line of John Stones, perhaps I'm related to the person mentioned at 3:44.

  • *Luini

  • It's the MonaLisa. Lol. The rich are funky fucking idiots are they not?

  • So he painted a painting of a person that's been dead of over 500 years with out the real subject being alive, when he pained it… Seems retarded to put so much value on it.

  • Too bad it isn't a Leonardo da Vinci…

  • these dummies believe the most bull crap…"lets paint some white dude put a story behind it convince some idiots that some old dude painted it and lets sell it in 200 mil"

  • Nice Ted Nugent painting

  • And it was sold to a fucking Muslim, I wish it had been burned first.

  • Is this the look of a 1st century Palestinian Jew? Blonde, Germanic features? Really?

  • So, its a painting of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci and it ends up being bought by the Saudi Prince who killed that reporter and then put in some Muslim museum…
    Thats kind of hilarious actually.

  • Absolutely not by Da Vinci unless he did it as a toddler blindfolded. A testament to mass gullibility.

  • White man

  • This was his mother

  • Damn you people retarded

  • It is so obvious this work is not by DaVinci but by one of his pupils, it hangs in some dreadful yacht exposed to the elements.

  • And now a saudi murderer owns it!

  • Is this real or has it become the biggest joke in the history of art so far?

  • These things are never lost… They are always hanging around somewhere.

  • jesus wasnt white… just saying

  • Its NOT a DaVinci!! I'm sure it's not for a few reasons. That's my opinion anyways. Its turns out this paintings authenticity is very questionable is the high end art world.

  • Can you say money laundering? A way to exchange money disguised as a purchase… a Russian sold it to a Saudi. Enough said

  • So the Arabs got the painting! hourraayy

  • Wow. I love you Jesus so much. Wow. Jesus saves us all mortal being. Jesus.

  • Why can't we do the same thing but with the Gioconda?

  • 0:29 he looks baked af! "Jesus, are you high again?"
    "No, mom…dad damn it, she bugs me!"

  • Anyone wanna bet it's hanging above a gold diamond encrusted toilet?

  • You can feed a lot of hungry people with 450 million.

  • this is a painting of my bf Chris, who goes by the name Criss. if you don't believe me, text me and I'll send u a pic of him and you will soon believe. I am 100 percent. I've already sent messages to confirm this to a museum. Same hands, eyes, expression, Everything!

  • The biggest fake conspiracy in the art world to date .

  • The interviewd man had it’s vídeo flip horizontally (mirror) perhaps so it wouldn’t be the same framing as the lady… if you really wanted to diferent them, mirroring her would have been less obivious.

  • Probably a painting by Beltrachi 😂😂😂

  • unwatchable i cant stand idiots(ppl in the doco who think this is real cos of its value and trying to fool the world) pushing their heads up their own ass… these ppl have no conscience they sleep very well on their money filled beds ..

  • Seeing people paying so much for some painting, makes me lose hope in humanity.

  • Possibly the greatest painting of all time..

  • As a filmmaker, the one thing that brings out any film is a great story, and I love the way how you brought this film to life and gave it a heart, what a journey.

  • It’s fake

  • What you work on a Leonardo Da Vinci you work likes it’s the painting of God. You don’t add anything new, you use what was supposed to be used in the time it was made. That’s why the restoration didn’t take 20-40 days, it took 5 years.

  • Such art belongs in a museum…. Leonardo's paintings deserve to be viewed by the whole world. I'm glad he loaned it to a museum but how can one person own history?

  • This image of our Lord Jesus really instilled an almost instant feeling of peace and love within my heart, it's exactly what my mind pictures Jesus looks like. 👏👏👌

  • This is criminal. No person should have this in their collection. The painting should be in a museum for public to see and admire. A piece like this should not have a price and should be protected by highest authorities but for everyone to enjoy. Saudi prince….F that guy whoever he is.

  • 😞 people believe this is a picture of Jesus. This is a false image of Christ. This image is not even close to being a true representation of Christ. Christ wasn’t a white male.

  • I don’t know what I was expecting but I’m disappointed, BR really raised my standards for restoration videos lol

  • bought for £45 sold for 4.5 milll lololo i bet that woman got a percentage for finding out its an original

  • And we have let this masterpiece go into muslim hands "It was sold at auction for $450.3 million on 15 November 2017 by Christie's in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah, […]. Prince Badr allegedly made the purchase on behalf of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, but it has since been posited that he may have been a stand-in bidder for his close ally and Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. This follows late-2017 reports that the painting would be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the unexplained cancellation of its scheduled September 2018 unveiling. The current location of the painting has been reported as unknown but a June 2019 report stated that it was being stored on a Saudi Prince's yacht pending completion of a cultural centre in Al-`Ula. "

  • Christians reached orgasm just by gazing at this Jesus painting while this Jesus gets to see a guy jerking off in front of him everyday.

  • And still there are people starving to death..

  • Ugly paintings for rich idiots

  • She's a quack

  • A Arab muslim buying a European Christian painting. It should be forbidden. Money shouldn't buy everything.

  • what is this video about? a narcisistic old lady with an annoying voice????

  • lol jesus in saudi arabia

  • No Man in Judea , 2000 years ago, looked anything like that hippie….fun fact.

  • The background music is unpleasant

  • Apparently it was authenticated to the extent that someone paid $400 million. I would have liked to see more about the authentication.

  • From Italy: smells "fishy" to me. The World needs more Da Vinci's paintings so the experts found a new one. Be ready for the discover of the one and only sculpture made by Leonardo…

  • 💙 🙂

  • Jesus wasn’t white.

  • If Leonardo painted it, it is worth $500 million. If I painted it, is worth $50 or so. Art is a racket.

  • She probably did take a photo of it before she began work but she wrecked it so badly she is embarrassed and says she didn't.

  • How profound it would have felt to touch your brush onto the same canvas that Leonardo touched, gazed and pondered about hundreds of years ago, insane!

  • Now the painting is nowhere to be found and the Arab who bought it isn't explaining why. Obviously well within his right has having bought it fair and square BUT how stup!d do you feel America's art community? You know how embarrassing it is to watch Americans call and write this Arab to see a painting of JESUS CHRIST none the less, after having restored it and having it in your possession? Now the guy ignores you like a clingy one night stand.
    I am truly ashamed of my countrymen.

  • Waste of money

  • A painting of Jesus Christ by the western worlds most revered painter, Leonardo da Vinci for a christian king, celebrating christianity, is bought by an islamic infidal. Remarkable.

  • My son born of spirit sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to my family. Almost every night in his dream he goes into Heaven to meet Leonardo Da Vinci, his teacher. I am from Singapore. Amen

  • looks like a lesbian mona lisa on male are they crying about…

  • No way is this a Da Vinci art work. Morons today think that science is a consensus. Look at all the flakes talking about it, woman is the dodgiest. Shes acts guilty as hell

  • It's a FAKE!

  • This is a studio piece, he may have taught others using this piece … Di Vinci never did a straight on portraits. It was a technical teaching piece.

  • The greatest marketing game ever for a REAL CRAP painting. Far far away from real Leonardo artworks.

  • Its….not really that good is it? It's just kind a mediocre portrait of some dude. Just kind of meh.

  • $400 million dollar swindle

  • Sothebys pirates. HOAX!

  • Why must crying omg….. wtf….

  • It's not real. Or at least not by da Vinci.

  • ?? Diannes claim that she had a "relationship with the Savator Mundi, and he had a relationship with me" is without a doubt, one of the most ridiculous and pretentious comments I have ever heard, even from someone trapped in the artworld. (Seriously, this pathetic woman needs to get a life!)

  • omg to sell it for 2 grand! I think I would have brought it to a reputable authority before selling it for 2 grand. The host looks sickly.

  • Lmao 😂 emotional self feelings blinds the women.

  • This ain’t jesus it’s Caesar borgio & reason it sold for 450 mil is coz prince of Saudis Arabia has beef 🥩 with Qatar 🇶🇦 & Arab told me that’s why otherwise Qatar 🇶🇦 wud have bought it but coz of beef 🥩 prince went crazy & wud have paid a billion instead of 450 mil that’s why these Arabs are fools fighting each other & wasting stupid amount of money on a fake Jesus painting while there’s Muslims dying for a glass of water

  • To be honest it was a bad restoration

  • Bought with environment blood money.

  • Baumgartner should have worked on this

  • I hope the terrorists give it back to an italian museum or something omg so sad to see these People owning such a masterpiece.

  • Are the clothes of the subject in the painting women's clothing? Or…?

  • This boring painting is not by the Master. Maybe the hand. Maybe.


  • Purchasing at some garage sale?

  • The painting looks like Little Buddha

  • He painted a picture of JESUS CHRIST and used a cruel rich man's gay lover to be the model,. I have been an artist since I was a child, I got a picture of the gay lover as Christ when I learned my 10 commandments in CHURCH, I HAD HELD ONTO AN ABOMINATION to replicate Jesus, and since I found out who he allowed to model as the rich man commissioned it,,,( I have thrown it away or took it down and intend to, I hope I have thrown it away ) ,and it was his lover,,,,,, yeah, earth is a deception,I have renounced several of the so called old Master's since then,,,,,,

  • Wow $400. 000000, my paintings never. Inspired that much! 😒😒😒😒😒$

  • Had heard of this painting before, but never really seen it. I do have to say it's one of the most ethnically accurate depictions of Jesus I've seen, but it's still not quite true to his heritage. Jesus was Palestinian, after all. I truly believe that he bore no resemblance to the Norwegian guy in a white bathrobe that we see in most every other painting in which he is the subject.

  • I had no idea this painting was retouched.

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