The Lost Leonardo (15)

The Lost Leonardo (15)

Director: Andreas Koefoed

Runtime: 95 minutes

Cast: Dianne Modestini, Yves Bouvier, Evan Beard, Robert Simon, Alexander Parish, Warren Adelson, Luke Syson, Martin Kemp, Frank Zöllner, Maria Teresa Fiorio, Jacques Franck, Kenny Schachter, Bruce Lamarche, Jerry Saltz, Robert K Wittman, Alexandra Bregman, Georgina Adam, Alison Cole, Bradley Hope, Doug Patteson, Stephane Lacroix, Antoine Harari, Didier Rykner, David D. Kirkpatrick, Bernd Lindemann

Synopsis: The Lost Leonardo tells the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million, claimed to be a long-lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci.  From the moment it is purchased from a shady New Orleans auction house, and its buyers discover masterful brushstrokes beneath its cheap restoration, the fate of the Salvator Mundi is driven by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power.  But as its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity. Is this multi-million dollar painting actually by Leonardo – or do certain power players simply want it to be? Unravelling the hidden agendas of the world’s richest men and most powerful art institutions, The Lost Leonardo reveals how vested interests became all-important, and the truth secondary.


Danish documentary filmmaker Andreas Koefoed [Ballroom Dancer (2011), The Arms Drop (2014) and At Home in the World (2015)] meticulously filmed, over a three-year period, the totally engrossing The Lost Leonardo which unveils the whole story behind the Salvator Mundi and unfolds as a real-life thriller.

Featuring major characters from the world of art, finance, and politics including the restorer Dianne Modestini – who speaks in the film about her role in the evolution of the painting for the first time.  Andreas Koefoed positions this stranger-than-fiction story squarely at the intersection of capitalism and myth-making, posing the question: is this multi-million dollar painting actually by Leonardo, or do certain powerful players simply want it to be?

Salvator Mundi (Latin for ‘Saviour of the World’) most talked about, mysterious and hotly disputed painting of the century dating from c.1500, commissioned, possibly for Louis XII of France after his conquests of Genoa and Milan.  There is no evidence from Leonardo da Vinci’s lifetime that he painted it himself.

But from the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer – one of the top art conservation professionals in the world, Dianne Modestini – discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi’s fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power.  As its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity: is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci?

Unravelling the hidden agendas of the richest men and most powerful art institutions in the world, this riveting documentary reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary.

Dianne Modestini restored the Salvator Mundi over several years in the period between 2005 and 2017 and became convinced the work was from the hand of Leonardo da Vinci. This counted with the National Gallery in London, which included it in its 2012 Da Vinci show as an original. This claim comes under intense scrutiny as the work continues to fight for its attribution.

The Lost Leonardo is the story of the machinations of wealth and power told so hauntingly and disturbingly that it promps thoughts that if it is the last Da Vinci work should it not be on public view rather than a symbol of greed and prestige for the super-rich and powerful?

Says film director Andreas Koefoed : “This is a film about the incredible journey of a painting, the Salvator Mundi, the Saviour of the World, possibly by Leonardo da Vinci. It is a true story, yet a fairytale worthy of H.C. Andersen: A damaged painting, neglected for centuries, is fortuitously rediscovered and soon after praised as a long-lost masterpiece of divine beauty. At its peak in the spotlight, it is decried as a fake, but what is revealed most of all is that the world around it is fake, driven by cynical powers and money.”


In cinemas

Images courtesy of :Dogwoof