No idea why I stumbled upon the image of Salvator Mundi again recently, but all of a day when I looked at it, I knew that the ugly crystal ball must give way to a black hole if Jesus wants to live up to his title. Yes, dear people, salvation does not exist through the misconception of a paradise on the other side, but only through the gnostic realization that our existence is merely an illusion, which can only be overcome by leaving space and time behind.
So I put a black hole in the purported Redeemer, as a symbol of this circumstance and as an image for Sagittarius A*, and I was very refreshed by the result. The image is given a depth by this act, which it previously had only to a limited extent, which fascinates me immensely. Appearing out of nowhere, raising the right hand to a blessing, an androgynous being now delivers a message to the world that is no longer based on faith, but on scientific knowledge.
On the picture itself: authorship is still controversial among experts, with the majority assuming that it is in fact a work by Leonardo da Vinci himself, or at least he assisted in the creation. Translated, Salvator Mundi means either “Saviour of the World” or “Saviour of the World”, which corresponds to an honorary title of Jesus. If it is indeed a work by Leonardo, it would be the sixteenth surviving painting of the master and the only one that is presumed to be privately owned.
Since the provenance is only incompletely clarified, it can only be assigned to English noble families from the middle of the 17th century, whereby the trace is lost again around 1763 – after an auction – until it reappeared around 1900, the mystery of authorship remains an unsolved mystery forever. Unfazed by this fact, the image experienced in the following period, driven by speculation, an almost unbelievable increase in value. When it was auctioned to an American in 1958 for a paltry 45 pounds, it fetched a not much more impressive price shortly after the turn of the millennium, in which it changed hands for 1175 dollars.
It was only after a restoration by the new owners, two art dealers from New York, and the identification as the work of Leonardo da Vinci, that the price exploded. In 2013, 83 million were paid for the plant. The resale to a Russian oligarch eventually added another 45 million dollars, until it was auctioned on November 15, 2017 at an all-time high price of 400 million dollars, with the total price, with fees and surcharges, amounting to a staggering 450.3 million dollars.
The ownership is somewhat unclear, the sale was apparently carried out by two financial companies that wanted to exhibit the Salvator Mundi in September 2018 at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, but the exhibition was cancelled without giving reasons. Also in the Leonardo da Vinci for the 500th anniversary. The exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, where it was eagerly awaited in October 2019, did not appear.
In the meantime, it is assumed that the lost painting is in the possession of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud or the Ministry of Culture of Abu Dhabi, which would not be without a certain irony: why does the regent or ministry of a very conservative Islamic state spend such an overwhelming sum on an efficity of Jesus?