Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
In 2017, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” fetched $450.3 million at a Christie’s auction, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold. This week, a 500-year-old copy of the work, likely painted by a student of Leonardo, was discovered in the relative obscurity of a bedroom cupboard in a Naples apartment. The museum it was stolen from was apparently unaware it had been missing.
The 15th-century work belongs to the Doma Museum of the Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore in the southern Italian city. Naples prosecutor Giovanni Melillo told the Agence France-Presse that the room where the painting was kept had not been opened for three months due to forced shutdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities found no signs of a break-in and could not determine how or when the piece was taken.
Police arrested the apartment’s 36-year-old tenant on suspicion of possessing stolen property, describing his story of purchasing the painting at a flea market as “less than credible.”
“Whoever took the painting wanted it, and it is plausible that it was a commissioned theft by an organization working in the international art trade,” Melillo said.
The San Domenico Maggiore copy of the Renaissance masterpiece has been happily returned to the church’s Muscettola Chapel from where it was inconspicuously stolen.
Meanwhile, however, the whereabouts of the original “Salvator Mundi” (whose attribution to Leonardo has been contested) remain unknown. The controversial work was acquired at Christie’s by an anonymous bidder who was later revealed to be an ally of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was slated to be exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the museum abruptly canceled the exhibition in 2018, and the painting has not been publicly seen since the sale. Some have theorized that the work is sitting in storage in Geneva or on bin Salman’s private yacht.
Perhaps someone should check the cupboard.
The University of Virginia researchers wrote that the data “provides compelling evidence that these symbols are associated with hate.”
We are waiting for spectacle and when the quotidian, yet incongruous actions occur I wonder whether there is any real payoff coming.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
Tanega’s approach to mark-making comes across as stream of consciousness, as if she’s engaged in a conversation with herself.
Starting Monday, readers can borrow one of 50 rare and out-of-print titles, mailed to them completely free of charge, from Saint Heron Library.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
This is Yuskavage’s great gift, turning upside down our settled ways of thinking and seeing and, with ease, transforming the vulgar and ridiculous into the sublime.
51 international publishers and galleries showcase their latest editions in prints and artists’ books at this free public fair, which is fully online this year.
While hardly about the pandemic, or any of the other crises so afflicting us, all are invoked in this exhibition, which is also often tender and profoundly soulful.
These glowing, dynamic artworks reproduce something of Bosch’s chaotic energy, but on an immersive, multi-sensory scale.
This week, addressing a transphobic comedy special on Netflix, the story behind KKK hoods, cultural identity fraud, an anti-Semitic take on modern art, and more.