Leonardo da Vinci was the most famous painter from the High Renaissance period but his skills spanned numerous technical and scientific disciplines. Despite his fame and the continued popularity of the Mona Lisa, there are less than twenty surviving paintings which can be definitely attributed to him. A sale of one of this small number understandably generates a lot of publicity. There are more ‘lesser works’, some contested, which are credited to his workshop, students or followers.
Imagine if a new work is discovered. One which might be painted by the hand of the master himself. The excitement and speculation this generates is palpable. That is exactly what happened back in 2004 when the Salvator Mundi, a picture of Christ dating back to the early sixteenth century, was rediscovered. The Lost Leonardo, the new documentary from Andreas Koefoed, tells the story of the controversy surrounding its discovery, attribution and sale.
The Lost Leonardo is a fascinating film which provides an insight into how the art world operates and the furore which surrounds any big ‘discovery’. Using interviews with experts, agents, restorers, historians and more, we’re taken on an almost unbelievable journey which has as many twists and turns as a thriller. Indeed, there’s so much going on in The Lost Leonardo that you might find it hard to catch your breath at times.
The Lost Leonardo premieres theatrically in the US at the Film Forum on 13 August.