Why are we so fascinated by the world of fine arts and scandals? Why do we get into art piracy programs like Netflix’s four part series. It’s a robbery: the world’s biggest art thief. (2021) or breaking wills for entertainment and profit. The art of stealing. (2009) About the controversy and history of the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania? Now we have the infamous story of Leonardo da Vinci painting. El Salvador Market Recently released The Savior for Sale: The Lost Masterpiece of Da Vinci? (2021). This is the second documentary about painting, the first. Leonardo lost..
How did a painting sold for 17 1,175 at a New Orleans auction house in 2005 sell for a record 400 400 million at Christie’s auction house in 2017? That doesn’t include the 50 million auction house.
The documentary explores the richness of the controversy surrounding the “missing Leonardo” through interviews with key players. It features a cast of characters, such as “The Merchant,” “The Expert,” “Journalist,” “Right-Hand Man,” etc., like a real-life character. Ocean 11 Except for theft, a dubious certified painting has sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.
The main issue with the documentary is the authenticity of the painting, which is the reasoning behind each interested party’s own decision. The film begins with Robert Simon, dubbed “The Merchant”, an art dealer who discovered the painting in 2005 and his belief in painting is based on the discovery of another thumb in the process of restoration. Simon talked about how he considers all possibilities, like a copier changing his mind about the position of the thumb. Eventually, his team decided that the second thumb was a paintman, a change made by the artist that is hidden under the paint. To the viewer, this does not seem to be a strong basis for the authenticity of the painting.
And then how the National Gallery came into the UK and invited five experts to see the painting. One said no, one said yes, and the other was unconditional. Yet, despite this confusing meeting of minds, “The Curator” at the National Gallery, Luke Sasson, decided to include Seminal Leonardo in the 2011-2012 exhibition.
It reminded me of Sharon Waxman. Looting: War on the stolen treasures of the ancient world. (2008) where she discusses the tradition of legalizing private works of art by putting them in museum shows or permanent displays. In other words, you show this treasure among other treasures to prove that it is also a treasure. It’s a bit repetitive, but it’s a clear and useful way to legitimize works of art.
When it comes to later tests (or lack thereof) of the authenticity of painting, what I find more interesting is the insights it gives to the world of the very rich. There is a section where the film focuses on Dmitry Rybolov, called “Oligarch”, who initially bought the painting for 7 127.5 million.
At one point, the film talks about how the painting (along with others in its collection) was purchased for tax purposes through a separate company, Mei Invest LTD, rather than directly owned by Rybolovlev. It’s a wonderful demonstration of what Brooke Harrington said in her 2016 speech. Capital Without Borders: Wealth Manager and One Percent.. Herrington talks about how extremely wealthy shell companies, often limited liability companies, use their assets to protect themselves from tax, divorce and other wealth loss events. It is also helpful not to reveal a person’s identity because knowing who actually owns the assets can be a challenge.
Going even further, there is a remarkable scene where the painting is shown being stored in a warehouse with Rybolovlev’s other masterpieces. It’s a bit like the last scene. Indiana Jones and Riders of the Lost Arc. When the box is placed in the box and sent to the storehouse of many treasures. Incorporated with the whole shell company aspect, art feels like it’s just another asset to enjoy a work of art instead of hoarding.
Or a great scene with Chris Dirkin, president of the RivNn des Museo Nacional Grand Palais (RMN-Grand Palais), when they talk about how the Saudis helped him in his extensive cultural project. “Sometimes you need missionaries and mercenaries like me to open the door,” he says. Possible, even access to higher institutions.
The documentary also shows that when a large amount of money is at stake, everyone wants a piece. Shortcuts can be taken, people can be overly optimistic (at best) or leave out critical information that can affect the selling price. Even without questions of authenticity, there are shennigans who only sell paintings to the rich and famous. Scott Reburn, “Journalist” New York Times“The art world is full of people who want to make a lot of money from rich people,” he says.
Looking at the subject matter of the work, I feel that there was a slight lack of religious significance in the painting. It is worth mentioning that different owners wanted the painting because of its subject matter but a little deep dive can be interesting. What does it mean to sell a picture of Jesus for so much money? What are the implications of theology?
The film comes close to highlighting the importance of the subject when it shows footage of the audience’s reaction to Christie’s painting, where the film shows people crying or opening their mouths in fear. Apparently, they were reacting incredibly to the painting. (It is also a symbol of Christie’s excellent marketing strategy.) Once again, she must have taken a turn in her search for the business of the film art world.
Finally, we get the answer to the question why we are so fascinated by these stories. Martin Kemp, the “expert,” concluded, “No one dies if I’m wrong. Someone has lost a lot of money.” At the end of the day, the story is about art, rich people and their money. Unlike most crime crime podcasts, books and shows, no one dies, goes to jail or suffers the devastation of family and friends. Here it is only money and reputation on the line, so it is less a crime to see how these movements unfold.
The movie is available in theaters Apple TV + / iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, as well as in theaters.