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Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

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The drama and mystery surrounding the world’s most expensive painting is set to take the stage in New York in 2022 as a major Broadway musical. “Salvator Mundi” will chronicle the story of Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance-era portrait of Jesus, presumed lost for hundreds of years and only rediscovered this century, and sold for a record-shattering $450.3 million auction price in 2017.
 
Deborah Grace Winer, the screenwriter, believes da Vinci’s artwork has all the ingredients needed to make a compelling historical narrative for the stage. “There’s an epic quality about this story. It’s almost Shakespearean and operatic in the sweep of it’s history.” It is a story that poses the question: “What makes art, what gives anything value? It’s the idea of following one object through history. It’s about power and symbols.”
 
Yet art history is a rare subject for theater. The saga of “Salvator Mundi” may seem like a niche topic for a stage production, however, Winer believes some of the most popular musicals have succeeded because they are peculiar stories told in a compelling way, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda's rap musical "Hamilton." Winer adds, “The unlikeliest stories find incredible interest from audiences. The more specific it is, sometimes the more universal it becomes.”
Britto, Romero (Brazilian, 1963-) red heart on yellow ground

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When I think of this musical refrain, one artist immediately comes to mind, aka “the Founder of the Happy Art Movement” - Romero Britto. I met the artist several years ago in Miami at a pop-up exhibition, and the impression he left has been long lasting. I find myself drawing upon the exuberance and optimism of his spirit and his art. More than ever, it is art that lifts us up and gives us hope, comfort, and strength to make it through these challenging times.
 
As a professional art appraiser, it is my job to analyze and interpret art market data. I closely observe trends with an eye toward where the art market is moving. From my perspective, the art of Romero Britto falls into a new genre of art which is the wave of the future of art collecting for a new generation of global collectors. But don’t just take my word for it – take a look at his robust roster of endorsers: Disney, Hasbro, Ferrari, Porsche, Dolce Gabbana, Carnival Cruise Line, Mattel, Coca-Cola, and the list goes on…
 
Art analysis and endorsements aside, what truly attracts me to the art of Romero Britto is how happy it makes me feel. It’s just what the world need now - warmth, optimism, and Love, Sweet Love.

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Thirty years ago, a high school senior forever changed the age-old game of cutting class. The movie classic, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, flawlessly captures art’s ability to influence our perception of ourselves and the world around us. 
 
Through all the wild capers Ferris and friends employ during their day off – stealing a car and dancing in a parade – perhaps the most surprising, yet significant, is their stop at an art museum. It is undeniably odd, and not just because its three teenagers playing hooky by going to a museum. Once the friends are separated in the museum, Cameron experiences an 'Aha' moment of total absorption into a work of art, almost as if he dived in so deeply he ceased to exist. 
 
As a former museum docent, I tell people that when they go through art museums there will be a (Cameron) moment where they are totally gobsmacked in front of something, and it changes their life forever. 
 
So, the next time you’re at an art museum, remember Ferris’s sage advice about life moving pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you might just miss an opportunity to learn something about yourself and life itself.
Salvador Dali

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It was just another day volunteering at the thrift shop in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina when an employee stumbled upon something she suspected might be remarkable. Her hunch was correct - she had discovered an original Salvador Dali wood engraving on the floor of the thrift shop as she was sorting through paintings. She then decided to ask the thrift store for permission to get a professional opinion regarding the artwork.

'Nkisi Nkondi' - The Oath Taker

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In the movie Black Panther a black visitor confronts a white curator over African artifacts in a fictional British museum. "How do you think your ancestors got these?" the visitor asks. "You think they paid a fair price? Or did they take it — like they took everything else?"
 
A similar discussion is happening in museums around the world over the volume of African art in their collectionsAccording to UNESCO, 90% to 95% of sub-Saharan cultural artifacts are housed outside Africa.
 
The question is, is it normal that such a large part of the African cultural heritage is in Europe or in Western museums? Many argue that it is not. They contend that the country of origin has the right to possess its own cultural artifacts and exhibit them in museums located in the homeland. 
 
Others claim international museums provide scientific research on these precious objects, along with a venue that allows more people to view them. Many directors from major international museums have declared that kowtowing to claimant countries and giving everything back is ill- advised. They insist artifacts need to be shared with a world audience, and their museums are the best places where this can happen. 
 
Salvador Mundi on Exhibition at Christies

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The Salvador Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci sold at auction in 2017 at Christies New York for $450 million that smashed all previous records and absolutely stunned the art world.

 

At the time, the buyer's identity was shrouded in secrecy, but it was later revealed that, after very heated bidding,  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (alias 'MBS') was the new owner.

 

Ben Lewis, who wrote The Last Leonardo has stated that the Saudis paid such a high price because they thought that they were bidding against another rival royal family from Qatar. The defeated under-bidder, however, was Chinese billionaire, Liu Yiqian.

 

After the piece sold, scholars have continued to debate the attribution of the portrait of Christ as merely "from the workshop" of Leonardo.

 

Soon after the sale of the painting, the Louvre announced that it asked to exhibit the Salvador Mundi in its retrospective show marking the 500th anniversary of da Vinci's death. Privately, however, the museum decided to label it as "from the workshop" of Leonardo. In so doing, it would leave the Saudi owner publicly humiliated, as its value would go down to somewhere in the range of $1.5 million.

 

Mr. Lewis continued to say, "If a picture cannot show its face, that is really damning for the art world. It is almost like it has become the Saudi's latest political prisoner."

 

We still cannot unequivocally  answer our former blog question: Who In The World (actually) Painted The Salvador Mundi?  We can, however, answer our blog question: Where In The World Is The Salvador Mundi?  The painting is said to be currently in a storage facility in Switzerland.

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Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci The drama and mystery surrounding the world’s most expensive painting is set to take the stage in New York in 2022 as a major Broadway musical. “Salvator Mundi” will chronicle the story of...
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