Major museum casts doubt over the authenticity of $450M ‘Salvator Mundi’

Madrid, Spain: Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Salvator Mundi,” which was sold for $450 million at Christie’s auction house without any authenticity problems, has been downgraded by curators at the Prado national museum.
It was bought to the Prado National Museum in November 2017 by the Saudi culture minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah, apparently for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The downgrading comes in the catalog of the Prado exhibition “Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa,” which runs until January 23, 2022. Although many curators have already questioned the status of the  Gulf “Salvator Mundi,”  Prado’s decision represents the most important response as it is  from a leading museum.
The Prado’s judgement is recorded in the exhibition catalog’s index, which has one list of paintings “by Leonardo,” and another for “attributed works, workshop or authorised and supervised by Leonardo.” The Gulf painting is recorded in the second category, where it is referred to as the Cook version (it was bought in 1900 by London-based Francis Cook). Although the show focuses on the Prado’s copy of the “Mona Lisa,” it also deals with versions of other Leonardo compositions.
The Prado curator Ana Gonzáles Mozo comments in her catalog essay that “some specialists consider that there was a now lost prototype (of Leonardo’s “Salvator Mundi”) while others think that the much debated Cook version is the original.” However, she suggests “there is no painted prototype” by Leonardo.
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