There are fewer than 15 known paintings in existence today known to be painted by "The Master" himself, Leonard da Vinci. In the documentary, "The Lost Leonardo," the incredible story of a painting known as the "Salvator Mundi" (latin for "Savior of the World") is told...is this in fact a lost Da Vinci painting? Or is it one of the art world's greatest scams?
"The Lost Leonardo" immerses the viewer deep into the world of modern art, where auctioneers marry fancy creations, paintings and sculptures to their highest bidders. And no need to have any pre-knowledge of this world in order to appreciate the film, as it does a good job of making us understand just how things work.
The "Salvatore Mundi" was discovered miraculously hundreds of years after its creation, turning up in the United States of all places. How did it get here? Is it an actual work of Da Vinci, or did he have anything to do with it at all? The painting appears to have been overpainted and restored, but when experts do their own analyses of the work, most agree that it is, in fact, a lost Leonardo.
"Most" agree, that is. Others believe that the painting is one of the biggest scam jobs in the history of art. Originally sold for just over one thousand dollars, the painting past through the hands of many grifters and collectors who inflated the price using means that may have been legal, but were far from moral. "Salvator Mundi" went on to shatter all records when it sold for 450 million dollars at auction years later. Who would pay nearly half-a-billion dollars for a painting? You'd be surprised not only who, but why.
The documentary instantly gets even the common movie-goer to invest in the mystery. It unfolds with an intriguing cast of characters, all of whom could be sincere or equally full of it. The film paints the picture (pun intended) of a secret upper echelon of the super-rich, and how culture and art often intersect with political motivations and greed.
"The Lost Leonardo" is one heck of a find, and is worth seeking out.
Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes.
Directed by Andreas Koefoed ("At Home in the World," "The Ghost of Piramida," "Ballroom Dancer").
"The Lost Leonardo" is in select theaters on Friday, September 3rd, 2021.
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