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Italian Museum gives cryptic hint for exhibiting Salvator Mundi

In a cryptic announcement on Tuesday, the Castello di Rivoli museum in Italy talked about a mystery work they would be showcasing on Wednesday. The announcement made clear hints towards Salvator Mundi, a work by old master Leonardo da Vinci himself.  In an image released along with the announcement, one can see the work Salvator Mundialong with a sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan.

Currently, the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, which is located in Turin, is holding an exhibition honoring the 500th death anniversary of the legendary artist. Titled “D’après Leonardo”, the exhibition will feature works by some of the famous students of da Vinci or those who took inspiration from him. The names include Marco d’Oggiono and Gino De Dominicis.

The leading speculation is that the mystery work might indeed be Salvator Mundi, the famous artwork of Leonardo da Vinci created in the 1500s. The painting was sold in 2017 in a New York auction by Christie’s for $450 million. However, since then, it has been unknown who bought the painting or where it currently is. Some suggest that the painting was bought by Saudi royalty, but no confirmation has ever been made. Many theories also prevail regarding the authenticity of the painting itself. Even Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the current curator of the museum, had famously put doubts on the experts at Christie’s for selling the painting as a work by Leonardo.

However, another speculation suggests that this might just be an experiment by the museum to see how fake news spreads so easily and rapidly in the current digital world. The support for this theory comes from none other than Christov-Bakargiev. In a statement released after the museum’s announcement, she said:

“The choice to exhibit this third pictorial work, a painting that makes the mystery of the Salvator Mundi even more exciting, emerges from a reflection on the problematic of the critical reception and market that Leonardo da Vinci is going through in our digital age—characterized by a celebration of scientific rather than humanistic culture, by an accelerated dissemination of information, including fake news, and by the difficulty of ascertaining the authenticity of works as well as an increasingly concentrated attention on the canonical figures of art history, such as Leonardo da Vinci.”

Stay tuned for more information about the event.