Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ to be unveiled at Louvre Abu Dhabi on 18 September 2018

Photos by Mohamed-Somji

Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced that one of Leonardo da Vinci’s great masterpieces, Salvator Mundi, will be unveiled to the public on 18 September 2018, having been acquired by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) last year.

Salvator Mundi is one of fewer than 20 known surviving paintings by the Italian Renaissance master and is his final work to enter into a cultural institution’s collection.

Dating from around 1500, Salvator Mundi is an oil painting, executed onto a walnut panel, depicting a half-length figure of Christ as Saviour of the World, facing the viewer, and dressed in flowing robes of lapis and crimson. The figure holds a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right hand in benediction. It is believed to be a contemporary of both La Belle Ferronnière and the Mona Lisa.

Salvator Mundi @ Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi.

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said:

“The Salvator Mundihighlights the inclusive nature of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s narrative and Abu Dhabi’s mission to promote a message of acceptance, and openness. It is an opportunity for Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors from around the world to engage with a rare and iconic work of great cultural significance at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Lost and hidden for so long in private hands, Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece is now our gift to the world. It belongs to all of us, who will have the chance to stand before it, and bear witness to the mastery of one of the most significant artists in living history.”

The rediscovery of Salvator Mundi is one of the most significant artistic findings in recent history, as the first discovery of a painting by Leonardo da Vinci since 1909, when the Benois Madonna, now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, was attributed to the artist. The unveiling of the artwork ahead of its sale at Christie’s New York drew worldwide interest. Throughout the painting’s tour of Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, and New York, over 27,000 people viewed the work, setting a record for the highest ever number of pre-sale viewers for an individual work of art, according to Christie’s.

Painted more than 500 years ago (c. 1490 – 1515), Salvator Mundi may have been created for the French royal family before being brought to England by Queen Henrietta Maria when she married Charles I. The work was in the collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), where it is recorded in the inventory of the Royal collection. Presumed to have been destroyed, Salvator Mundi was rediscovered in 2007, when restoration was undertaken by Dianne Dwyer Modestini, Senior Research fellow and Conservator of the Kress Program in Paintings Conservation at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Since the initial restoration phase was completed in 2007, the painting has been studied by leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, which resulted in an unequivocal attribution to the most important painter of the Renaissance, and one of the most significant figures in the history of art.

After its unveiling at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in September, the Salvator Mundi is scheduled to be loaned to Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it will form part of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition which will run from October 24th, 2019 to February 24th, 2020.

Salvator Mundi is planned to return to Abu Dhabi after the exhibition, and will be on display again at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

For more information on Louvre Abu Dhabi, please Click Here.

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