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Christ’s fingers could prove Da Vinci never painted $625m artwork

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Christ’s fingers portrayed in the world’s most expensive painting are the single biggest clue the $US450 million artwork was not painted by master Leonardo Da Vinci

Christ's fingers portrayed in the world's most expensive painting are the single biggest clue the US$450 million (A$625 million) artwork was not painted by master Leonardo Da Vinci, an art historian has claimed.

French art expert Jacques Franck has claimed Jesus' fingers in Salvator Mundi are "childlike" and lack Da Vinci's mathematical precision.

Salvator Mundi, which depicts Jesus holding a orb with one hand and making a blessing with the other, has been the subject of intense speculation since it was purchased in 2017 by an anonymous buyer at a Christie's auction in New York.

Salvator Mundi: The small, 66-centimetre-tall panel was commissioned by Louis XII of France around 1500.

It set a new record for the priciest painting ever sold at public auction, and intrigue and controversy has swirled since.

Much of the speculation has centred on the provenance of the painting, with question marks over whether it was actually painted by the hand of Da Vinci or one of his studio pupils.

READ MORE: Salvator Mundi may finally hang in public

READ MORE: Missing Da Vinci 'whisked on board' Saudi prince's superyacht

In an exhaustive essay by Mr Franck in reputable journal ArtWatch UK, the expert pointed out details in Salvator Mundi which he claimed were "inconsistent" with other Da Vinci paintings and sketches.

Mr Franck highlighted Christ's "oddly long and thin nose, the simplified mouth [and] the over shadowy neck".

But it was Jesus' fingers on a "childishly conceived left hand" which were most astounding, Mr Franck posited.

He wrote that despite their "neat finish", the wrongly raised fingers in the blessing hand was "a quite inconceivable depiction" from a brilliant artist like Da Vinci.

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"When the index and the middle finger are raised fully, one cannot bend the other fingers inside the palm extensively as observed in the Salvator Mundi's blessing hand," he said.

"It is therefore an unlikely movement."

Mr Franck wrote he believed two of Da Vinci's best pupils, artists Salai and Baltraffio, were the actual painters of the piece.

Salvator Mundi: The small, 66-centimetre-tall panel was commissioned by Louis XII of France around 1500.Bidding representatives react after Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" sold for $450 million, including fees, at Christie's.

Where in the world is Salvator Mundi?

Salvator Mundi has not been publicly seen since the auction hammer dropped three years ago.

Rumours swirled that a private Saudi buyer, possibly even Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, may have purchased a dud.

After its record-breaking sale, the painting was supposed to be hung in Abu Dhabi's Louvre, the prized piece in a much-hyped opening of the United Arab Emirates gallery.

But sensationally, the Da Vinci was pulled without any explanation at the last minute.

 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the steps of number 10 Downing Street on March 7, 2018 in London, England

This mysterious cancellation sparked speculation the Saudis were trying to save face by not exhibiting Salvator Mundi in public.

Last year reports surfaced that the near half-billion-dollar artwork was hanging in the Saudi Crown Prince's $810m superyacht.

In June, the Wall Street Journal reported the Saudis were building a special gallery to hang the painting.

In the latest twist, two weeks ago it was announced a musical about the painting was being created for Broadway.


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Source: 9News

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