The Salvator Mundi at Castello di Rivoli

July 9, 2019 – January 5, 2020


The Salvator Mundi at Castello di Rivoli



The D’après Leonardo exhibition up to now has presented to the public major works from the Cerruti Collection – Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea as part of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci (Anchiano, 1452 – Amboise, 1519). It will be extended to January 5, 2020 in a modified form. An additional painting that is not part of the Cerruti Collection will be added.

The work Madonna col Bambino (c. 1516) by the student of Leonardo Marco d’Oggiono, is visible to the public until November 3, after which it will be presented at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan on the occasion of the Leonardo and the Madonna Litta exhibition (November 7, 2019 – February 10, 2020). Moreover, the exhibition D’après Leonardo includes Senza Titolo (La Gioconda) (1992) by Gino De Dominicis (Ancona, 1947 – Rome, 1998), a work that belongs to a series of drawings on poplar boards made from the second half of the 1980s, drawing inspiration from the enigmatic figure of Leonardo’s La Gioconda, and the rare volume Divina proporzione (1509) by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli (Borgo San Sepolcro, c. 1445 – Rome, 1517) with original woodcuts from Leonardo’s drawings.

Is the exhibition at Castello di Rivoli complemented by a painting that could be the famous Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci?

The walnut table with the hieratic figure of Christ blessing, which in the New York office of Christie’s on November 15, 2017 was awarded for the record amount of 450 million dollars, according to some experts, would be the original Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. Possibly made for the King of France Louis XII, the painting had an adventurous destiny. It may have survived the English revolutions of the seventeenth century, but over the decades it deteriorated and lost its original attribution to Leonardo. Furthermore, there exist many period variations of the painting as it was a popular subject amongst Leonardo’s disciples. In 2005 it re-emerged at an auction in Louisiana and, bought for a mere ten thousand dollars, underwent a restoration that left everyone stunned. It is the birth of a new myth in recent artistic history: the table, re-attributed to Leonardo, passed through the hands of a rampant Swiss businessman and a famous Russian oligarch, becoming the center of an intriguing spy story. After the record sale at Christie’s, it seems to have taken the road of Saudi Arabia, but its traces are again lost. While the attribution to Leonardo is more questionable than ever, the latest rumors suggested it may be on the giant yacht of the heir to the Saudi throne.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of the museum, states, “The choice to exhibit this third pictorial work, a painting that makes the mystery of the Salvator Mundi even more exciting, emerges from a reflection on the problematic of the critical reception and market that Leonardo da Vinci is going through in our digital age – characterized by a celebration of scientific rather than humanistic culture, by an accelerated dissemination of information, including fake news, and by the difficulty of ascertaining the authenticity of works as well as an increasingly concentrated attention on the canonical figures of art history, such as Leonardo da Vinci.”