The painting was bought by Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah in November 2017, probably for the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.
The classification has been reduced in the catalog of the exhibition “Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa”, which is held by the Museo del Prado, and continues until January 23, 2022.
Although individual specialists have questioned the reality of the alleged Gulf painting “Salvator Mundi”, the decision of the Museo del Prado represents the most decisive answer issued by a prestigious museum, since the sale led by “Christie” auction house.
The decision of the Museo del Prado was recorded in the catalog catalog of the exhibition, which includes one list that includes paintings by “Leonardo”, and another includes “works attributed to him, his workshop or those licensed and produced under the supervision of Leonardo.”
The second list included Salvator Mundi and called it “Cook’s Copy”, after London-based Francis Cook, who bought it in 1900.
Curator of the “Salvator Mundi” Museum, Ana Gonzalez Mozo, commented in her speech published in the catalog that “some specialists consider that there is a prototype of the painting “Salvator Mundi” now lost, while others believe that the copy of Cook, which has raised a lot of controversy, is the original.”
However, Muzzo held that “no prototype was drawn” by Leonardo.
Muzu believes that another copy of the Salvator Mundi, known as the “Ganae” (1505-15), is closest to the original lost Leonardo copy. It was acquired by Hubert, Marquess of Ghana in 1939, sold at Sotheby’s auction in 1999, and is now in an anonymous private collection.
Muzzo noted that the talented workshop artist who painted Salvator Mundi was also behind the Prado Museum’s first copy of the Mona Lisa (1507-1616).
Although the catalog devotes a full page to the copy of “Salvator Mundi” known as Ghanaian, it did not include the copy of Cook.
Vincent Delevingne wrote the opening article for the catalog of the Museo del Prado, and is curator of the Leonardo exhibition held in 2019 at the Louvre. He offered different views on the Gulf painting “Salvator Mundi” without revealing much of his own opinion, despite referring to “surprisingly poor quality details”.
Last month, Delevingne gave an online lecture to the Courtauld Institute of London, in which he addressed the challenges he faced during the organization of the 2019 exhibition.
He was asked why the Gulf version of “Salvator Mundi” and the copy of “Ganay” that hung in the Louvre exhibition were not included. He replied that the Gulf version was requested, but it was not shown after a “long discussion” about it.
Delevingne seemed unenthusiastic about talking about the Gulf version of the “Salvator Mundi”, pointing out that although “it is an interesting painting, it is not the most prominent painting of Leonardo’s privacy.”
“It would have been nice to have it hung (the bay painting) near the magnificent copy of Ganay, which embodies a high-level workshop copy,” the Louvre curator said during the Courtauld Institute of Art’s virtual lecture.
“We hope that the permanent display of the painting in the future will allow it to be re-analyzed with greater objectivity,” Delevingne concluded in his inaugural article for the Museo del Prado catalog on the Gulf painting “Salvator Mundi”.