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Still Waters

Christ's orb mystery in da Vinci painting

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A new biography of Leonardo da Vinci has raised “a puzzling anomaly” in a rediscovered painting that is estimated to fetch $100m (£75m) at auction next month.

The Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) portrays Jesus gesturing in blessing with his right hand while holding a crystal orb in his left hand.

But in a forthcoming study, Leonardo da Vinci: the Biography, Walter Isaacson questions why an artistic genius, scientist, inventor, and engineer showed an “unusual lapse or unwillingness” to link art and science in depicting the orb.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/19/mystery-jesus-christ-orb-leonardo-da-vinci-salvator-mundi-painting

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I wouldn't buy a secind hand car off whoever authenticated that painting.

 

 

Edited by oldrover
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1 hour ago, oldrover said:

I wouldn't buy a secind hand car off whoever authenticated that painting.

I was going to disagree with you until I read this part.

Quote

But Leonardo failed to paint the distortion that would occur when looking through a solid clear orb at objects that are not touching the orb.

That seems like a totally uncharacteristic oversight for the master. 

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36 minutes ago, OverSword said:

I was going to disagree with you until I read this part.

That seems like a totally uncharacteristic oversight for the master. 

Not necessarily. In much Renaissance painting, something that is associated with divinity often defies physical laws - such as lightning that seems to cut through a scene regardless of perspective etc. There may be a couple of reasons for it being painted the way it was. He wanted to show Jesus/God as being "above physical laws" that govern the rest of us; OR as the physics of light wasn't as universally and instinctively understood by the viewer then as it is now, he might have considered it confusing to the lay person to draw it correctly.

Or, its not by LdV.

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48 minutes ago, Emma_Acid said:

Or, its not by LdV.

I would hate to believe that but $100m .............

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I don't rate Leonardo that highly artistically. But he was a supreme technician with laint, and as a draughtsman. And that painting is weakly drawn. I'll never believe it was a Leonardo myself. 

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I think Leonardo painted it this way on purpose. I think Emma was correct when she said, "...he might have considered it confusing to the lay person to draw it correctly". I personally think this is the correct explanation.

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Paint. Bloody tiny keys. 

 

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Sounds like a "teaching" painting (as to show what not to do)... He did have many students.

But what teaching artist paints "what not to do"

On the other hand, perhaps it was actually painted by one of his students.

Me thinks this was merely a student painting.

Edited by pallidin
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I don't care who painted it, that amount of money for a painting is obscene.

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Walter Isaacson is not a connoisseur of Leonardo's paintings. He is not any kind of a painting expert. He wrote a biography, nothing more. The painting is authentic, no doubt. Nevertheless, the orb is extremely curious in spite of Leonardo's authorship. The real experts have several theories about why Leonardo painted it this way - the most plausible being that most people who viewed the picture would be confused to see the reflected image upside down, and he therefore chose not to take their attention away from the Christ figure by painting the optical phenomenon. Close up images of the globe reveal immense care in the painting of the crystal and the minute flaws within it. Note also, that at that time officially the Church considered the world to be flat; also that the technology to carve a complete rock crystal sphere had been lost in ancient times and would not be rediscovered until a century after Leonardo's death. It is therefore considered that Leonardo was defying Church orthodoxy by including the rock crystal spherical globe in this picture.

The picture was extremely famous in its day and was the very first image of the Spiritus Mundi type, and set the canon of attributes that would hold through hundreds of versions through the nineteenth century.  Overpainting of the face and other parts obscured for centuries Leonardo's signature technique...which is immensely difficult to duplicate.  There are also pentimenti (changes in the design) that were revealed upon x-ray and other technical examination...which would simply not be there if it were a copy or later version of the Spiritus Mundi.  These original positions of the hands etc., if not then altered, would have changed the canonical positions and attributes of Spiritus Mundi type, indicating that this was indeed the original of the canon.

Edited by Khaemwaset
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On 19.10.2017 at 2:15 PM, Still Waters said:

A new biography of Leonardo da Vinci has raised “a puzzling anomaly” in a rediscovered painting that is estimated to fetch $100m (£75m) at auction next month.

Sold for 450M USD. Holy #@&$ !

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for 450 million you would have to believe its real because of all the analysis it would go through. No one would just say "its real - 450 Million please" lol. Besides with todays technology and testing im sure the world of art can authentic it. But whoever bought it for 50 bucks in the 50s and held onto it this long, i would say it was a good FLIP!

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2 minutes ago, LucidElement said:

for 450 million you would have to believe its real because of all the analysis it would go through. No one would just say "its real - 450 Million please" lol. Besides with todays technology and testing im sure the world of art can authentic it. But whoever bought it for 50 bucks in the 50s and held onto it this long, i would say it was a good FLIP!

Well actually the person who bought it for $50 in the fifties was not the owner who flipped it.  A Canadian (I think) millionaire bought it in '07 for over a hundred thousand dollars on the hunch that it was the original, and he spent oodles of dollars having it restored by Italian expert restorers, who took six years to get the overpainting off without damaging the original paint film as Leonardo finished it.  It was then sold at auction (I believe in 2011) for over @130 million to a Russian millionaire, and it is he who now sold it at auction with Christie's Hong Kong.  They estimated it, lowly, at 100 million.  So it was the Russian who flipped it and made a small fortune thereby.

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17 minutes ago, Khaemwaset said:

Well actually the person who bought it for $50 in the fifties was not the owner who flipped it.  A Canadian (I think) millionaire bought it in '07 for over a hundred thousand dollars on the hunch that it was the original, and he spent oodles of dollars having it restored by Italian expert restorers, who took six years to get the overpainting off without damaging the original paint film as Leonardo finished it.  It was then sold at auction (I believe in 2011) for over @130 million to a Russian millionaire, and it is he who now sold it at auction with Christie's Hong Kong.  They estimated it, lowly, at 100 million.  So it was the Russian who flipped it and made a small fortune thereby.

they estimated it at 100m when he bought it in 2011? or now? hopefully not now since it sold for 450M..... wonder who they sold it too

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16 minutes ago, LucidElement said:

they estimated it at 100m when he bought it in 2011? or now? hopefully not now since it sold for 450M..... wonder who they sold it too

Yes, the Christie's estimate of 100 mil. was for the current 2017 sale.  Not sure who bought it.  Perhaps a Chinese collector, which would retain its status as the only Leonardo in private hands and therefore not available to the public to view.  On the other hand, the Getty in CA has a lot of money to spend on acquisitions, and we may hope it is they who bought it because then we can see it for ourselves. 

I have to admit, the sale price is jaw dropping.  The previous record high was for a Picasso - $160 million.  Quite a difference.  But still, this painting has no equivalent, to be honest.

Edited by Khaemwaset
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Quote

Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, “Saviour of the World,” sold for $450,312,500 Wednesday at auction, Christie’s said. The price, which includes a buyer’s premium, makes it “the most expensive painting ever sold at auction,” the auction house said in a statement.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/11/15/unimaginable-discovery-long-lost-da-vinci-painting-to-fetch-at-least-100-million-at-auction/?utm_term=.96efbfa7780a

 

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A correction to my previous post: The painting was sold in New York, not Hong Kong. Sorry. My bad.

And the Russian billionaire who was the seller is Dmitry Rybolovlev. According to Bendor Grosvenor:

"Leonardo's Salvator Mundi has sold for £400m hammer, or $450m with fees.

Quote

The lot was first announced as 'selling' at $80m, which I presume represents the level of the guarantee. Bidding was then brisk to the high $100ms, before, to audible gasps in the room, the picture broke through the $200m mark. Thereafter it was a battle between two phone bidders. The winning bidder kept making unilateral bids way above the usual bidding increments. Their final gambit was to announce, with the bidding at $370m, that their next bid was $400m. This finally knocked the competition out, and - after 19 minutes - the hammer came down. Whoever it was evidently has some serious cash to burn."

http://www.arthistorynews.com/articles/4900_Salvator_Mundi__the_most_expensive_artwork_ever_sold_at_auction

 

Edited by Still Waters
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I don't get paying so much for a painting just because the author was famous, if it was me i you'd need to pay me to take that painting, the guy in it looks creepy as hell... like a transvestite Mona Lisa

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I remember from my days back in College that a lot of the paintings of the Leonardo's day were expressed 'Symbolically' along realistic representational proportions ...

~

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Just now, _KB_ said:

I don't get paying so much for a painting just because the author was famous, if it was me i you'd need to pay me to take that painting, the guy in it looks creepy as hell... like a transvestite Mona Lisa

Yes. The whole issue of this sort of price, aside from it being obscene, is that it has nothing to do with artistic merit or appreciation. It's an investment, a share that won't go down. Except this is no more a Leonardo than my ****.

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Here's a couple relevant videos people may like:

 

 

Edited by Khaemwaset
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I remember seeing a show one time on da Vinci and they were saying his paintings are easier to authenticate than many others for two reasons..one is that he was left-handed and two, he used his fingers while painting and they can actually verify his fingerprints from within the dried paint.

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It's fantastic, the hands are beautiful (i have tried to think of another word but that's what comes into my head) 400,000,000 is obscene the budget of a small country, if it was lost tomorrow nothing in the world would change, that can be equated with football (premiership) players earning £200,000 a week if it was stopped tomorrow nothing of any importance would change, if the guys collecting you're rubbish (trash) all stopped it would have a major impact on everyone's life. 

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I agree the price is obscene.  There's no other word for it, when so many people struggle just to survive and there is so much actual need which isn't addressed.

For people who don't like the look of the picture and doubt its authorship because of that, all I can say is that this is often the case when looking at an older artform with modern eyes.  Take a look at the some older Hollywood films and ask yourself, with your modern eyes, what was so great about this film, or what made this film so funny.  It's not easy understanding the context and viewership of older works of art.  In Leonardo's case, there are less than 20 paintings by his hand to compare this to.  His drawings and notebooks are full of scientific observation and exactitude, but the paintings are different: he alters, idealizes, and changes nature for the purposes of the picture.  Look at the portrait of Ginevra di Benci in the National Gallery, Washington.  An early work, it is stiff and oddly unconvincing as an actual person, as opposed (say) to "The Girl with the Ermine" in Krakow, which is very naturalistic. Look at his trees in the Washington picture...they ascribe to a convention of the time, not to nature.  Then on the other hand, compare the handling of the representation of Christ's garments and hair in the Salvator Mundi with those elements in the Mona Lisa (which btw was painted more or less contemporaneously)...they are very close indeed, as are the treatment of the hands.

The gaze in the eyes of Christ in this picture is slightly unnerving...something which really threw me off when I first saw it.  Those pupils don't line up with a natural gaze, the way they should.  The restorers declare that there are no paint losses in this area...that is: this is how Leonardo wanted them to look.  I pondered this for a while, while 'believing' in the rest of the picture.  The Christie's people address this point by saying that Leonardo may not have wanted the viewer to 'connect' eye-to-eye with Jesus(God), and therefore purposely painted the pupils slightly askew so that the mystical aspect of God and his remoteness would be subconsciously grasped by the viewer as he/she tries to connect with that gaze.  This particular issue still bothers me...in spite of the fact that I'm quite sure Leonardo painted it, and (if the restorers didn't overclean this area of the eyes) that he wanted to convey this uneasy effect.

Edited by Khaemwaset
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