The Discovery & Restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s Long-Lost Painting “Salvator Mundi” | Robb Report

(soft choir music) – And so, ladies and gentlemen, we move to the Leonardo Da
Vinci, the Salvator Mundi, the masterpiece by Leonardo
of Christ the savior, previously in the collections
of three kings of England. (soaring instrumental music) – [Auctioneer] Who will give me 120? 130 million, 140 million is bid. At 140 million. – I always thought it would be the most expensive work of art ever sold. It’s incredible and unbelievably rare. Nothing conjures with
the name of Leonardo. We had tens of thousands of
people on three continents line up for hours in some cases, and people were tremendously
excited to see it. – I had a relationship
with the Salvator Mundi, and he had one with me. This was an incredibly powerful image, and it was like nothing
that I’ve ever worked on and I believe like nothing
that’s ever been painted. I’ve known Robert Simon
for a very long time, and Robert had purchased the painting. Some time, I think it
was in April of 2005, he called and asked if he
could bring a picture over that he had just purchased. And I asked Bob if he wanted
me to go ahead and clean it. It had very recent kind
of sticky varnish on it and some sloppy retouching
that also looked quite recent. – It was heavily overpainted, and it was still thought to be a copy, and it was sold for a
couple thousand dollars at an estate sale in Louisiana. It was found by a man named Alex Parish who then sold a share
of it to Robert Simon who is a very distinguished authority on Italian Renaissance paintings. Thought he must be crazy
when he said he thought he might have found a Leonardo Da Vinci, and they started having it cleaned, and at that point the quality of it really began to come through,
and they got quite excited and they brought in Dianne Modestini, who’s a very distinguished
restorer in New York. – I was not thinking,
“This is by Leonardo.” I was just concentrating
on what had to be done to make the picture legible, not to lose any of the original. It just didn’t enter my mind. It probably would have interfered with my ability and my
freedom to work on it and to develop kind of a
working relationship with it. We noticed that the panel
itself had a very large crack that ran the whole length of
the panel from top to bottom. It was a curve that went
right around the side of the Salvator Mundi’s head. And that was a kind of
horrifying thing to discover. The other parts of the painting
were preserved perfectly. – I had already been hearing rumors from Leonardo scholars who had seen it who were sort of hinting that they’d seen this kind of amazing thing. A consensus developed over time that this was, really
was this lost original that had been thought to have
disappeared for centuries. By the time he paints it around 1500, Leonardo is almost 50. He is the most famous artist in the world. There is an assumption
that it must have been for a very important patron. He used very, very precious materials, and he finishes it, which
he doesn’t do that often. He starts a lot and
abandons it along the way, but he finishes this. First absolutely known history of it is about a hundred years later when it’s in the collection
of Charles I of England. He dies hugely in debt,
and the Crown decides to give away much of his art collection in repayment of his debts. It’s given to a mason, it
would be the equivalent of an architect or a
builder, named John Stone in repayment for this debt. And nine years later when
the monarchy is restored and Charles II becomes king,
Parliament passes an act that says basically, “All
you people who’ve had debts “from the king and got stuff
from us, give it back.” And so it enters the
collection of Charles II. It then descends to his younger brother and successor, James II. His mistress is a woman
named Catherine Sedley, and they have a child together, and she inherits it from him. And then she marries the
First Duke of Buckingham who builds Buckingham
House, which eventually by their heirs is sold and
is now Buckingham Palace. And when the house is sold to the crown, the contents of it are sold
off at an auction in 1763. And at that point it just
completely disappears. We have no idea what happened. It’s sold as by Leonardo
but for a very small amount of money, and so it’s probable that even by that point the painting had been quite heavily overpainted. – I worked on it off
and on for five years. The cleaning was really
not particularly revelatory because the head had been
completely repainted. There was a beard. It looks quite grotesque. Wherever there were damages they just made this kind of red beard. But all of that was done, I don’t know, in the not-so-distant past,
and it came off very easily. – [Auctioneer] 286 million,
will you give me 290? I thought so. (crowd gasps) 300 million. – From 1763 we have no
idea from that point on what happens to it. Until the end of the 19th Century when it reappears and it’s sold to a very eminent British
collector, Francis Cook. But it’s sold as a copy
or a follower of Leonardo, and you can see it’s heavily overpainted. It was sort of just made
to look more masculine. I think it was probably
seen as more fitting by the 19th Century. And it remains in the Cook collection where nobody pays much
attention to it until 1958 when it’s sold at Sotheby’s
in London for 45 pounds. It’s bought by an American we think, and it ends up in collections in America until 2005 when it’s sold for, again, a very, very small amount of money as a copy in Louisiana. – It wasn’t until I was
at the very, very end of the restoration and
there was one retouch around the mouth which
was extremely difficult. I had a book about
technical investigations of the Mona Lisa, detailed reproductions, and one was just of the Mona Lisa’s mouth, so I actually cut the page out of the book and tacked it to my easel. That was the moment when
I had to say to myself, “Of course it’s by Leonardo because “nobody else paints this way.” This picture is a paradigm of everything that he knew technically about painting and much of what he thought about time, eternity, and the cosmos. It wasn’t just a portrait of Jesus Christ painted for the king. This was something that
became very important to him. – For those of you following online, you may not have heard it. The bid was 350, was
called on the telephone at 350 million the
Leonardo Salvator Mundi. – [Dianne] The fact that it went for so much money will protect it. – 370 million dollars,
ladies and gentlemen. 400 million. (crowd gasps) – I only care about it being protected and it being one of the
most important expressions in paint that Leonardo
left us about his thinking. So the price doesn’t matter. – In my dreams it’s sort of almost exactly what I thought it would sell for. I always thought it would
make the biggest price ever. So it was a trophy of the greatest rarity. – Leonardo Salvator Mundi
selling here at Christie’s. 400 million dollars is the
bid, and the piece is sold. (crowd cheers and applauds)


  • maniscalcane

    nice scam and money laundering, also telling is the fact the "restorer" will go great lenghts not to say how young the paint over actually was. Anyone believing this is an actual Leonardo should check himsellf into an asylum

  • Matthew Estrada

    how are you crying looking at a painting

  • Dorian Philotheates

    It must be very gratifying to be in possession of a self-portrait of Leonardo.


    This should be in a museum, not in a private collection.

  • Laplace’s Demon

    People are crazy

  • Beast mode

    the dumb arab payed for a copy,the real one is stil in the uk.hahahahaha

  • The DragonKnight

    🤔 ummmmmm. That’s Cesare Borgia. Not Jesus 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • deltasquared7777

    The expression on the painting is totally "dead" unlike genuine Leonardo portraits. Art forgery is a true art in itself, but the hand of a master is vastly different from the hand of a master forger.

  • Dulce De Leche

    Plot twist: Jesus didn’t look like that.

  • Elly Anne

    Looks like Salai


    That’s the most beautiful painting I’ve ever seen.

  • Jason M

    Androgenous Jesus doing the as above so below and holding a crystal ball, same esoteric crap can be found all over Europe for hundreds if not thousands of years.

  • Liz C

    last I heard, this painting was still in question as a fake and the owners put it away- it is not on display because of its questionable legitimacy. Remember, art is relative.

  • Freddie Mata

    I still think Leonardo is the ninja turtle .

  • prayalways

    This painting, was owned by my aunt and uncle for almost 60 years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana . The people who bought it from them in their estate sale, knew exactly what it was. It is so disgustingly sad how they practically stole this painting and knowing the worth of it, said nothing to my family!!!!!!

  • Andy Slater

    The music is very distracting

  • Yashar Nabala

    Pope Alexander the 6th son Cesare Borgia. Everyone thinks this is Jesus Christ "the great deception" in fact Christ is described as having dark skin tone. Like fine brass burnt in an oven.

  • Question Mark

    This is not a Leonardo…NO FRIGGEN WAY…

    If you ignore the fact he NEVER painted people dead on….

    Or that he ALWAYS painted everyone in much brighter light…

    The shade work from chin to neck is MISERABLE!!!!

    Especially when you compare it to his other works.

  • onlythewise1

    all of this art will be destroyed one day by white haters

  • Paul Michael Dawson

    Hundreds of millions for a portrait of Cesar Borgia.
    Christ was a Nazarene .
    Dark olive skinned Jew .
    Leo painted what he was paid to .
    He hated the church.

  • Big Bulk

    These people pulled off the biggest scam in art world.

  • Spotted Bullet

    As an artist and someone that has studied Leo…this is NOT a leo painting and history will prove me right.

  • Rainbow Melody

    Okay but did she use staples or tacks

  • AiPheeScott

    Just finished watching Vice's Art Forger video and I'm now wondering if this is a forgery 😂

  • Caz Walt

    Shamefull to sell a painting of the lord to a Saudi prince where they kill converts to Christianity just for the sake of money. It must be in the west because it is our heritage.

  • hairybeefman

    The background music is anoying 🙄

  • Paul Dee

    So an Arab ruler got stung over this dubious painting. Hilarious !

  • Hagop i

    1:43 yoooo i didn't know Teller could talk, hey internet i found a video of Teller talking

  • ophello

    Great. Some Saudi prince piece of shit just snaps it up. What a waste. Put it in a fucking museum you twats…

  • romain reuter

    It should not have been sold to a person outside of Europe. It belongs to Europe.

  • CPpdx20

    So instead of finding a museum to put it in where everyone can have a chance to view it it just gets sold to some Saudi prince that will probably have hanging for only him to see. But hey as long as you can make a buck off it right?

  • 1manuscriptman

    Many experts, me included, have SERIOUS doubts about the authenticity of the painting.

  • Bradley Seewalt-Boman

    Well how disappointing! I wanted to see the restoration. Boo!

  • Lynne Elliott

    It is a very beautiful painting but paying $400 mill is just ridiculous. How much is the guy worth who bought it? Half of Abu Dabi lives below the poverty line. What he could have done with the money instead of paying for a painting !!!!

  • Big Bulk

    Diane Modestini is trying her best to come across as honest and trust worthy and failing miserably at the act.

  • Lit' AHSr.

    400 million y'all can kiss my ass

  • Scarletbull

    Jesus wasn’t white! It’s fitting for a certain race to think of our Redeemer as their pigment. History IS after all… Whitewash!

    Israelites were people of color! 📠‼️

  • Candace Shirley

    Oh lookie here, it's Franca the narcissist
    The false lie endured

  • Ciprian

    Louvre Abu Dhabi… In your faces, Christians!

  • O Fishial

    I hope she’s not painting on that painting omg.. no

  • Ashutosh Jha

    anybody who knows even a dime about art and painting and has seen Mona Lisa can say for sure it is by Leonardo.

  • Ileen Randle

    Look, wrong color, wrong hair texture it ain’t So called Jesus it’s the devil

  • Tommy Nico

    Surprise surprise….now it has gone missing again.

  • Davidsolomon Michael Budi Margono

    Love You Jesus, Thanks beloved Daddy God. Love you so much everyone.

  • sptronix91

    What a great story. 2 grand to 450 million … Dumbstruck !!

  • Uchiha Aizen

    Leonardo is angry and he want his money u madafakars

  • 粘贴

    So we have a new famous painting that everybody will know like the Mona Lisa

  • SamBless

    If it was touched by Mr Bean, this could have been a bizarre 😂

  • jesse Talbott

    Is it just me or is the Mona Lisa and the Mundy the same person only in a slight difference.

  • Hero Kito

    Its mind blowing that the person who win the bidding is no other than Saudi Prince!!

  • lovro M.

    "the price dosen't matter" but dam it would sure be nice to have that 400 million

  • My dude Mcgee

    That moment when you live in Louisiana, and a 450 million dollar painting was found in Louisiana

  • Andres Alban

    Sound like a scheme

  • The Rock


  • Sasha Kraus

    One can't buy culture, no matter how much money one has; I sincerely hope it is not an original.

  • Vinn Rush

    Imagine a white dude sold a painting worth millions of dollars for 30 dollar ish thinking it was a copy…


    Rich Muslims.
    Go buy Allah, not Jesus.

  • hosackies

    I hope this painting can absorb $450m worth of CO2, from that Saudi guy's oil money…


    piss christ lol

  • Giovani Grande

    Hahahaha every year some old lady find leonardo in her basement what a lie

  • Mac Impreso

    how? wtf "price doesn't matter" it is always price matter idiot women.

  • Quares


  • Edwin Elizalde

    Her tone pisses me off

  • Kuiqy

    if y’all had any knowledge about this painting you would understand that this took place during the Renaissance and was a painting for a southern religious patron.Back then northern and southern art was very distinct from eachother.This is a southern piece due to the major figure “Christ” and how it was a religious piece.You are anything but smart if you don’t believe this was not a religious matter

  • Andrea Piredda

    But….that eye is crooked…

  • A.J. Gallegos

    this should not be sold to some extreme rich person. More bullshit for the Ultra rich. this should be for everyone to see at a musium. Fuking ultra rich!!

  • A.J. Gallegos

    400million but mean wile the earth is dying. Fuking greedy bastards, this is fucking disgusting.

  • Mk3

    Wait, so someone bought it for 400 million, and now the New Louvre museum is leasing from that owner? I had no idea how such expensive, extremely important works of art work that people can lease it, that’s a good way to make money hahaha
    But what I really wonder is that what if all these “priceless” works of art on exhibitions are really the original or amazing and perfect replicas or copies and they keep all the originals hidden somewhere not to get robbed or what ever else.

  • armyforlife3 Nao


  • CABdosdos

    How is this the original art when it's been painted over.

  • Jorge Valenzuela

    Baphomet hand sign ! Lol So pagan

  • monkey boy

    I don't think Jesus would approve of a painting being sold for that much money when there are poor starving people all over the world that could use that money instead!

  • JoMo's Dipped in Chocolate

    The painting depicts a person bidding on this painting.

  • Greg West

    It sounds like a bunch of bullshit.
    But the slick video production will surely dupe some fools.
    It is just a painting, in poor condition and of dubious origin.
    People seem to idolize things made by mortal men, but have no problem shitting on and abusing God's creations, which are our brothers and sisters.

  • pastuh

    Nothing special Leonardo had 220 IQ , but it's special man who discovered him and teached everything.

  • Aim entity

    Wtf is wrong with this stupid bitch she doesn’t even know if it’s real coulda been a giant scam LOOOL

  • Aim entity

    This old bitch is talking about outer space …

  • jim doe

    No on knows who Jesus really looked like. All we have are paintings and statues from the 3/4th century on.

  • Malcolm Bravo

    They’re lying lol

  • A A

    The Sylvester Mundi the sister painting will soon be available for purchase; found in Camden New Jersey at the old Dynotherm boiler plant complete with angelic back round music.

  • Keyry Rivas

    The eyes … so judgmental yet wise .

  • Terverris mottley

    Da Vinci just another white propaganda protraying Jesus as white FOH da Vinci must have been a time traveler 🤔

  • fan2jnrc

    Pretty sure from the beginning this is not by Leonardo. The eyes are completely asymmetrical. He would never had painted so poorly.

  • systems4living .org

    Creating a "missing painting" is as easy as sped up the ageing process, easier than forging an original, simply because there is not an original.

    I don't' see the hand of Leonardo here. It's like trying to see the hand of "god" in deadly crashes, cancer, or homicides.

  • Stephen Lucas

    there is a pretty interesting video or 2 about how that this painting may not really be by Leonardo, but in those videos, they suggested rather it is a painting from Leonardo's studio and maybe one of his students had painted it mostly, but leonardo still may have touched it by adding the amazing curls to the hair. Im personally unsure what to think but the painting looks amazing and the history behind it its super interesting.

  • niels nielsen

    All that history and culture only to be bought by a useless saudi prince who will piss and shit on it like he does with instagram models

  • Bunny Gray

    The most demonic looking picture. Straight creepy.

  • James Connell

    The price doesn't matter well tell that to the sick and poor people of the fuckin world you pretentious old cow


    A painting that I have always looked at in total awe.

  • Anders Liljevall

    I do not think it is a Leonardo. Maybe from his workshop. Sorry!

  • Hope Knotts

    Michael Charles Kapner is the 2nd coming of Christ 479 is Ark of the covinent "Arkansas" he lives there and its the opposite side from Israel

  • Ophir Ophir

    YHWH is the Elohim, the Creator and the real God. Jesus was created by the Roman Empire/Julius Caesar through the impregnation of marry by the holy spirit (magic).

  • Slap Riem

    Is it?

  • Mohit Kumar

    Call rick and chumlee, they would randomly call an expert and that expert will tell in seconds whether its original or fake. The fake experts of industry.

  • Honestly Speaking

    Im going to be honest, i think this is a sham, and a way to profit off of the allure of Davinci, and a way for the art world to make sure that Basquiat, a black artist, is no longer the best selling painter in world history. These people all sound like theyre lying out of their teeth; first, the authority who claimed the painting to be a Davinci, and then all the successive people who found it in their possession – from the restorer, to the auctioneers – all going along with the myth, because its their job; and duty, to use their positions of influence in the art market to assure that the painting is sold at the highest price, and to the highest bidder. The only thing theyve protected is the art world, remaining white.

  • John Becht

    That’s Lucifer. I promise you.

  • Just AFriend

    good thing jesus wasnt even white, he looked like an arabic person of these days.

  • Arash Rahim

    So perfect.

  • Harvey Kent Lagura

    can't wait to go back to Abu Dhabi just to see this painting.

  • Dar El

    That is a woman.


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