Thursday, 1 December 2011

M/M Issue: December 2011

Manner of Man Magazine
Issue: December 2011

Table of Contents

The Brand: Manner of Man: Merry Christmas

Gary Cooper as Hero by G. Bruce Boyer

Interview with John Saladino

In Heaven

Moments of Absolute Clarity #7  by Lalle Johnson

Interview with Lou Del Bianco

Goya, Brueghel, Gainsborough, Van de Velde & Maes Lead Old Master & British Painting at Christie's London in December

Leonardo da Vinci Painting Discovered: Painting Gains Attribution After Careful Scholarship and Conservation

Leonardo da Vinci Painter at The Court of Milan

M/M The Brand: Manner of Man: Merry Christmas

Photo above is from a private French family collection. It is shown on Manner of Man with exclusive permissions. All rights reserved.

M/M Gary Cooper as Hero

Above image: from Gary Cooper: Enduring Style, by G.  Bruce Boyer and Maria Cooper Janis. Published by PowerHouse Books Inc (New York City) 20 November 2011 provided to Manner of Man Magazine by PowerHouse Books Inc and may not be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved. 

Gary Cooper as Hero


G. Bruce Boyer

                It may be that many of today’s cinema audience, born since the Angry Young Actors of the 1950s – Brando, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and the rest – had taken the style of Humphrey Bogart and ran with it, are perhaps too cynical to appreciate Gary Cooper’s charm and honest talent. Cooper didn’t reveal the torrent of neurosis within a character, but rather the torment of moral choices for the good man enmeshed in a corrupt system. He was an actor capable of showing considerable natural dignity, a virtue in short supply today both on and off the screen.

                And it was not a false or child-like dignity either. Compare his approach to that of John Wayne. Both actors were born only six years apart (Cooper 1901, Wayne 1907) neither had any formal training as an actor, they were incredibly handsome and charismatic men, and both found early success in Westerns. Both became iconic American heroes with their film roles.

                But Wayne’s conception of a hero was much different than Cooper’s. When Cooper made High Noon in 1952, Wayne, so the story goes, was appalled. He apparently couldn’t stand the idea of an American hero – celluloid or real – pleading for help, or even needing any for that matter. A few years later, in 1959, Wayne made Rio Bravo as an answer. Ironically, in the film, Wayne does have help -- albeit an old man, a teenager, and a drunk – while Cooper’s Will Kane doesn’t, but Wayne’s point still resonates with many: as Sherriff, he was perfectly ready to take on all the killers in the world by himself, and free the world from evil.

                It’s just impossible to imagine any Wayne character putting his head down on his desk and quietly sobbing, as Cooper’s Sherriff does from fear and exhaustion before facing the fight of his life. Wayne would have simply gone ahead, chased them down, and blown them away by himself. Even as an old man, Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn didn’t want any help. Wayne’s characters simply overpowered evil. As critic Richard Schickel observed, Wayne was very much the 20th Century Man, fuming his frustration with the intractable world he never made and would never like. In short, he represented us as we now frequently are; Cooper represented us as he liked nostalgically to dream that we had been, wistfully dream that we might become again.”

                Both men and both films were politically conservative, but perhaps even more than making films that represented them as they wanted to be seen, both men portrayed what they wanted us to be. Wayne’s persona had a rough strength, a no-nonsense, extroverted direct style. His was a world without doubt, and so without equivocation. He knew always what was right, and his audience always knew that he would prevail against the outlaws of society. Action was what was needed from the moral individual to sort things out.

                Both Wayne’s and Cooper’s careers were based on a vision of heroism that pre-dates the mid-20th century, but, in the end, we understand that Wayne’s stance is the genuinely naïve one, a child’s perception of heroic adulthood elementally unencumbered by complexity or subtlety or doubt. Cooper’s strength is eventually seen as coming from a deeper place. He depicts more introverted men, men who know the anguish of having to make difficult, often fatal decisions in a world where the forces of society may even be aligned against the individual in ways Wayne could probably not have imagined.

By G. Bruce Boyer and Maria Cooper Janis
Design by Ruth Ansel
Introduction by Ralph Lauren

2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

M/M Interview with John Saladino

This exclusive interview with renowned designer John Saladino was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Santa Barbara during October 2011 and is reserved for private male members only.

M/M In Heaven

In Heaven all the interesting people are missing.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

M/M Moments of Absolute Clarity #7

an exclusive series produced by Lalle Johnson

Image by Lalle Johnson exclusively for Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed and cannot be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.

2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

M/M Interview with Lou Del Bianco

Image of Lou Del Bianco provided to Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed by Lou Del Bianco and cannot be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.

This exclusive interview with Lou Del Bianco was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in New York during May 2011

Interview with Lou Del Bianco

Your grandfather was the carver of Mount Rushmore, tell us about his background. Where is he from? Education and training?

My grandfather Luigi Del Bianco was born aboard a ship near La Havre, France on May 8, 1892. His parents, Vincenzo and Osvalda, were returning from the United States to Italy. When he was a small boy hanging around the wood carvingshop of his father in Meduno, Pordenone province, men of the village used to say, “How curious the little one is!” Vincenzo Del Bianco became convinced that his son was interested in carving and had more than ordinary ability. He took the 11 year old boy to Austria to study under a skilled stone carver. After two years in Vienna, Luigi then went on to study in Venice.

How did he come to the USA?

In 1909, cousins in Barre,Vermont wrote that skilled carvers were needed, 17 year old Luigi boarded the La Touraine out of Naples and headed for America. In 1913 World War I broke out and Luigi returned to Italy to fight for his country. After the war, He emigrated back to Barre, VT. In 1920 and after a year of work as a stonecutter, he settled in Port Chester, NY where he met his wife, Nicoletta Cardarelli.

How did Luigi come to be associated with Mount Rushmore designer Gutzon Borlgum?

It was his brother-in-law,Alfonso Scafa, who introduced Luigi to Mount Rushmore designer Gutzon Borglum.“Bianco”, as Borglum affectionately called him, began working at Borglum’s Stamford, CT studio and the association of the two men continued until Borglum’s death in 1941. Throughout the 1920’s Luigi assisted Borglum with the Governor Hancock Memorial in South Carolina, Stone Mountain in Georgia, and the Wars of America Memorial in Newark, N.J. Because of Luigi’s strong stature and classic Roman features, Borglum used him as a model on 20 of the figures on the Newark sculpture.

What was his role and contribution to Mount Rushmore?

In 1933, Borglum hired him to be chief stone carver on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. His job was to carve the “refinement of expression” or detail in the faces. He was paid 1.50 an hour; a considerable sum for the Depression. Many of the men who worked on Mount Rushmore were trained by Luigi to be pointers and carvers.

In 1935 Luigi brought his wife and three sons, Silvio, Vincent and Caesar to live in Keystone.
The boys went to school, rode horses, became blood brothers to the Sioux and swam naked in the nearby streams. A daughter, Gloria, was born in 1946. She fondly remembers her father as "Charming, funny and very handsome."

In a 1966 Interview with the Herald Statesman in Yonkers, NY, he said about carving the eyes of Lincoln, “I could only see from this far what I was doing, but the eye of Lincoln had to look just right from many miles distant.” “I know every line and ridge, each small bump and all the details of that head so well.”

He also single-handedly saved the face of Jefferson; a task Gutzon Borglum would have entrusted to noone else. In Judith St. George’s book, The Mount Rushmore Story, she writes:

“Luigi Del Bianco,one of the best stone carvers Rushmore ever had, patched the crack in Jefferson’s lip with a foot deep piece of granite held in place by pins- the only patch on the whole sculpture, and one that is hard to detect even closeup.”

St George goes on to reinforce the value of him:

“At least he ( Borglum) now had the funds to hire skilled carvers, a lack he had been bemoaning for years. But to his surprise, with the exception of Luigi Del Bianco, few of the carvers worked out.”

Why wasn't Luigi given any credit or mentioned in most publications about his work?

My grandfather didn’t seek any credit because he was an artist with that old world work ethic: to be grateful for the work and the opportunity to use his talents in a unique way. Let’s face it, the media of the 1930’s was also very limited compared to today. There were not many opportunities to promote yourself. But he wasn’t worried about publicity and was honored to be paid 1.50 an hour to carve Lincoln’s eyes.

Now, in terms of factual evidence, we know that most authors who wrote about Rushmore were from the area and wrote mostly about the men who were natives of South Dakota. We also know that Luigi quit the mountain several times over lack of wages. “The Borglum Papers” out of the Library of Congress, tells, in Borglum’s own words, his frustration over the way Luigi was being treated:

“For the purpose of Washington's “red tape”, a portion of our better men are designated as carvers; there are no carvers on the mountain—
there never have been but one and he refused to return because of the chronic sabotage directed at him by influences in RapidCity, and the Park Department.”

“He is worth any three men I could find in America, for this particular type of work, here and now, but Mount Rushmore is not managed that way and doesn't want that kind of service. He entirely out-classed everyone on the hill, and his knowledge was an embarrassment to their amateur efforts and lack of knowledge, lack of experience and lack of judgment. He is the only man besides myself who has been on the work who knows the problems and how to instantly solve them. His absence is a great loss to this work this year. . . .”
“. . . The loss of Bianco will probably prevent the finishing of the Washington and Jefferson heads this year. . . .”- THEBORGLUM PAPERS, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

So, when you put together the fact that Luigi was an immigrant, a victim of sabotage and a not selfpromoter, it stands to reason his accomplishments would not be recorded.

In spite of everything that Luigi went through, these were the last words he uttered publicly about his experience as chief carver on Mount Rushmore:

“I would do it again, even knowing all the hardships involved. I would work at Mount Rushmore even without pay, if necessary. It was a great privilege granted me”. –HERALD STATESMAN, 1966

What is being done now to give your grandfather the credit he deserves?

There are many very exciting things happening right now. First, a website has been created to get the story of Luigi out in to the ether. As a result, thousands of people now know about him. Being his grandson I created a one man show and portrayed him at Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2011. The performance was held at Gutzon Borglum’s studio, where Luigi spent long hours with the great sculptor as they developed the plan to execute the carving. Many of the park rangers who experienced the performance now include Luigi’s story in their daily walking tours. After 70 years, the “story in the stone” will now be shared for years to come.

The above interview with Lou Del Bianco 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.

M/M Goya, Brueghel, Gainsborough, Van de Velde & Maes Lead Old Master & British Painting at Christie's London in December

Image of Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Fuendetodos 1746-1828 Bordeaux;) Portrait of Don Juan López de Robredo, Embroiderer to King Carlos IV of Spain; Oil on canvas; 42⅝ x 32⅜ in. (108.3 x 82.3 cm.) £4,000,000 – 6,000,000. Image supplied to Manner of Man Magazine by Christie's London and may not be reproduced without written authorisation.
© Christie’s Images Limited 2011
All rights reserved.

Old Master & British Painting Evening Sale
King Street
6 December 2011
Sale 8007

Christie’s Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale on 6 December 2011will present the market with 36 paintings, providing a visual feast of European art history spanning 500 years. Leading the sale is Portrait of Juan López de Robredo by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), the greatest Spanish painter of his time (estimate: £4 million to £6 million), illustrated above. Offered at auction for the first time in almost twenty years, this important portrait stands alone in Goya’s oeuvre as an example of an artist – the Embroiderer to King Carlos IV of Spain - depicted in the manner of a courtier. Further highlights include The Battle between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Brueghel II (1564/5-1637/8) (estimate: £3.5 million to £4.5 million); a full length Portrait of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield (1755-1815), by Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (1727-1788) (estimate: £2.5 million to £3.5 million); Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm by Willem van de Velde II (1633-1707) (estimate: £1.5 million to £2.5 million); An old woman spinning in an interior by Nicolaes Maes (1632-1693), 1658 (estimate: £1 million to £1.5million) and An old man at a casement, 1646, by Govaert Flinck (1615-1660) (estimate £700,000 to £1,000,000). The sale as a whole comprises strong portraiture and a notable number of important Dutch pictures and is expected to realise between £18 million and £26 million.

This auction builds on the success of the corresponding sale at Christie’s London in July 2011 which realised £49,766,050 / $79,625,680 / €54,991,485, and set nine new record prices for artists, including Stubbs (£22,441,250 / $35,906,000) and Gainsborough (£6,537,250 / $10,459,600).

Richard Knight, International co-Head of Old Masters and 19th Century Art at Christie’s and Paul Raison, Head of Old Masters and 19th Century Art at Christie’s London: “We are pleased to meet the market‟s continuing appetite for important works of exceptional quality, condition and rarity with a stellar group of paintings in the evening sale this December. This year, our field has witnessed a noticeable broadening of appeal with collectors both globally and increasingly across a range of categories, bringing new energy. Combined with the strong results achieved in July, this presents an exciting context for these works, particularly Goya‟s masterful „Portrait of Juan López de Robredo‟, to come to auction.”

Highlights of the auction:

-Portrait of Juan López de Robredo is an important work by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), which has been widely exhibited and documented (estimate: £4 million to £6 million). Executed with Goya’s inimitable style and mastery of characterisation, it is a vivid and engaging depiction of a fellow artist. Born into a dynasty of ‘bordadores’, López de Robredo not only designed and created exquisite embroideries to embellish the costumes of the Court – including those of the extravagant Queen María-Luisa – but also embroidered hangings, upholstery and woven pictures, many of which remain in the Spanish royal palaces to this day. An artisan and yet also an ‘hidalgo’ of good family, Robredo was immensely proud of his social position and artistic ability. The pinnacle of his career came in 1798 when he was finally granted the right to wear a court uniform similar to, but even more lavish than, those worn by the painters, sculptors and diamond cutters of the Spanish Court. Robredo was so proud that he commissioned this portrait by Goya, illustrated page 1, which - as the leading portraitist of the day and a firm favourite of the Spanish Court - was an audacious move, signaling the sitter’s ambition.

The brilliance of this picture resides in the sympathetic manner in which Goya flatters his sitter whilst also indicating Robredo’s vanity, as he proudly shows off his dazzling new uniform. Robredo’s skill is clear in both the sheet of pattern designs which he holds and the embroidered reality which lavishly adorns his coat and waistcoat, detail illustrated right. Ensuring that the sitter is not overwhelmed by his own attire, Goya balances his masterful handling of the gold braid with a sensitive depiction of Robredo’s face, pulling the viewer’s attention back to his essential humanity. A magisterial celebration of professional success, Goya, who had previously fought for official recognition, may be viewed as both smiling at and empathizing with Robredo’s justifiable pride.

- The Battle between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Brueghel II (1564/5-1637/8) exemplifies the unique blend of storytelling and riotous anecdotal detail that has endeared the work of the Brueghels to generations of art-lovers (estimate: £3.5 million to £4.5 million). The internationally acclaimed Brueghel expert, Klaus Ertz, has judged this beautifully preserved picture, which is the property of a gentleman, to be ‘of masterly quality.’ It is one of Pieter Brueghel the Younger's finest reinterpretations of his father's work, which is one of the most recognizable of all the images within the Brueghelian canon. Five versions of the composition by the artist's son are known, of which only three are considered to be autograph. The picture as a whole is a brilliant demonstration of the Breughels' unique ability to orchestrate acutely observed characterization and anecdote into original compositions of great imaginative power. The meaning of The Battle between Carnival and Lent, illustrated left, has been endlessly discussed and interpreted, but rather than imposing a didactic moral message, the picture is notable for its even-handed treatment of both Lent and Carnival. There is no obvious winner in this battle. The artist’s mocking ‘open-air lunatic asylum’ quality seen in works like this one has a resonance which has transcended time, most recently being examined in the work of the Chapman Brothers in their contemporary art show Die Dada Die, in Zurich.

- A remarkably well-preserved and exceptional full length Portrait of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield (1755-1815) by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is presented for sale for the first time in over half a century, having been bought by the late present owner in 1959 (estimate: £2.5 million to £3.5 million). This picture is offered in December following the success of Portrait of Miss Read, later Mrs William Villebois which set a world record price for the artist when it sold from the Cowdray Park collection for £6.5million / $10.4 million in July 2011.

Chesterfield had inherited the title in 1773 from a cousin, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, the famous author of the Letters, but he waited until his marriage in 1777 before commissioning a pair of full-length portraits to mark the ennoblement of his branch of the family. Depicting Lord Chesterfield relaxing on a country walk, it was painted as a pendant to the more formal portrait of his wife, which was bought by the Getty Museum, in 1959. It was executed in the years after Gainsborough's move from Bath to London in 1774; the period when he established his reputation as one of the most sophisticated painters of his generation. This portrait demonstrates the artist’s dexterity and lightness of touch and his increasingly confident and experimental approach to painting.

Offered at auction for the first time in over 150 years, from a family trust, Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm by Willem van de Velde II (1633-1707) has long been recognised as one of the outstanding paintings in the artist’s oeuvre (estimate: £1.5 million to £2.5 million), illustrated left. It is in exceptionally good condition and has, since it was first documented in 1778 at the Servad sale in Amsterdam, long received unanimous acclaim for its technical excellence and the serene harmony of its composition.

-From the same collection, An old woman spinning in an interior, 1658, by Nicolaes Maes (1632-1693), 1658, is also offered for the first time in over 150 years (estimate: £1 million to £1.5million), illustrated left. This charming painting belongs to a group of about twenty-five genre scenes by Maes that feature a housewife or maid seated in a domestic interior and engaged in an everyday activity such as spinning. Maes's genre paintings invariably communicate a moralising message, which would have been readily understood by the contemporary viewer. A copy of the present work in watercolour, with variations and the inclusion of a boy receiving a bible lesson from the housewife, by the Dordrecht painter Abraham van Strij (1753-1826), is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

-An Old Man at a Casement, 1646, by Govaert Flinck (1615-1660) is a rediscovered treasure from the Hermitage (estimate: £700,000 - £1,000,000), illustrated below. Having once graced the walls of the Imperial Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, this is one of Flinck’s most powerful paintings, remarkable both for its technical virtuosity and its psychological intensity. It reveals how by the mid-1640s Flinck had emerged as the chief rival to Rembrandt, in whose workshop he had trained between 1633 and 1635.

Flinck’s portraits of this period were particularly admired by his contemporaries, though few possess the brooding, mesmeric power of the present work, which focuses from close quarters on the contemplative man leaning on a casement. Acquired by Catherine the Great of Russia as part of one of the greatest collection-building campaigns in history - the product of which was to become the Imperial and subsequently the State Hermitage Museum - this picture is recorded in an inventory made after her death in 1797, and seems to have been separated from the Hermitage collections in the mid-nineteenth-century. This is the first time that it has been offered on the market since the early twentieth century.

M/M Leonardo da Vinci Painting Discovered: Painting Gains Attribution After Careful Scholarship and Conservation

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Salvator Mundi, c. 1500
Oil on walnut panel, 25 13⁄₁₆ x 17 ⁷⁄₈ inches (65.6 x 45.4 cm)
© 2011 Salvator Mundi llc

Leonardo da Vinci Painting Discovered

A lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci has been identified in an American collection. The picture depicts Christ as the Savior of the world (in Latin, the Salvator Mundi): a half-length figure of Christ facing frontally, holding a crystal orb representing the world in his left hand as he raises his right in blessing. Measuring 25 13⁄₁₆ x 17 ⁷⁄₈ inches (65.6 x 45.4 cm) and painted on a walnut panel, the Salvator Mundi is one of some 15 surviving oil paintings by the Renaissance master. The last time a Leonardo painting was discovered was in 1909, when the Benois Madonna, now in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, came to light.

Leonardo’s painting of the Salvator Mundi was long known to have existed. More than 20 painted copies by students and followers of the artist are known, as is a meticulous 1650 etching made after the original painting by the Bohemian artist Wenceslaus Hollar. In addition, two preparatory drawings by Leonardo in the Royal Library at Windsor depict the drapery and raised arm of Christ as seen in the painting. Although versions of the picture have occasionally been put forward as Leonardo’s original, none has gained any consensus among scholars until now, and many experts had presumed the original to have been destroyed.


The present painting was first recorded in the art collection of King Charles I of England in 1649. It was sold after his death, and later returned to the Crown upon the accession of Charles II. The painting later passed to the collection of the Duke of Buckingham, whose son put it at auction in 1763 following the sale of Buckingham House (now Palace) to the King. All trace of it was then lost until 1900, when Sir Frederick Cook acquired it. However, by that time the painting had been damaged, disfigured by overpaint, and its authorship by Leonardo forgotten. A photograph taken before 1912 records its compromised appearance at that time. (This photograph has recently been circulated in the media, as has another photo [with Christ in a red tunic],
which was incorrectly identified as the recently rediscovered work.) Cook’s descendants sold the painting at auction in 1958 for £45, when it was catalogued as a copy after a work by Boltraffio, one of Leonardo’s most gifted students. For the remainder of the 20th century, the painting was part of an American collection until it was sold following the death of a family member. The Salvator Mundi is now privately owned and not for sale.


In 2005, the painting was brought to Robert Simon, an art historian and private art dealer in New York for study and research. Although the painting had been partially cleaned at some point in the recent past, much of the repaint seen in the old photograph had remained. Nonetheless, it was evident that there were passages of extraordinary quality, including the blessing hand, which had survived virtually untouched, as well as the coiled ringlets of hair on the right, the interwoven knot pattern of the stole, and the crystal orb, which were visible but obscured by layers of dirt and varnish. The painting was clearly a work of considerable quality and interest, and although there was then no serious belief that it might be by Leonardo himself, it was decided to treat the work with the highest standards of professional care.

A comprehensive program to examine, treat, and study the Salvator Mundi was soon begun. Dianne Dwyer Modestini, Senior Research Fellow and Paintings Conservator for the Samuel H. Kress Program at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, supervised the overall conservation of the painting and undertook the cleaning and restoration of the paint surface. At the same time, Robert Simon began research into the painting’s provenance, its relationship to other versions of the composition, and its connection with Leonardo’s painted and drawn works, especially the preparatory drawings at Windsor. After nearly seven years of focused scholarship, conservation, technical analyses, and consultations among scholars, this extensive process has recovered a long-obscured, yet extraordinary work of art of undeniable importance and beauty.

The principal reason that the painting remained unrecognized for so long was the crude overpaint that until recently obscured much of its surface. The wood panel upon which Leonardo painted had at one point split and bowed. Previous restoration attempts had involved large areas of stucco fill; thinning, flattening, and gluing of the panel to another backing; and attempts to disguise the repairs with broad areas of crude repaint. The recent conservation treatment has remedied and repaired these underlying problems, but the results of hundreds of years of mistreatment are still evident. The principal panel split can still be noted curving around and to the left Christ’s head; the rich dark background has survived in irregular passages, and local areas of paint loss and abrasion are scattered throughout the painting, as is typical of many works from the period. The recent restoration of the painting has attempted to minimize the visual impact of these damages with a minimal amount of restoration to those areas where losses occurred.

As the possibility of Leonardo’s authorship became evident, it was decided to show the painting to scholars in the field so that an informed consensus about its attribution might be obtained. The initial phase of conservation of the painting had been completed in the fall of 2007. At that time, the painting was viewed by Mina Gregori (University of Florence) and Nicholas Penny (Director, National Gallery, London; then Curator of Sculpture, National Gallery of Art, Washington). In 2008, the painting was studied at The Metropolitan Museum of Art by museum curators Carmen Bambach, Andrea Bayer, Keith Christiansen, and Everett Fahy, and by Michael Gallagher, head of the Department of Paintings Conservation. In late May 2008, the painting was taken to the National Gallery in London, where it could be directly compared with Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks of approximately the same date. Several specialist Leonardo scholars were also invited to study the two paintings together. These included Carmen Bambach, David Alan Brown (Curator of Italian Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington), Maria Teresa Fiorio (Raccolta Vinciana, Milan), Martin Kemp (University of Oxford), Pietro C. Marani (Professor of Art History at the Politecnico di Milano), and the gallery’s Curator of Italian paintings Luke Syson. More recently, following the completion of conservation treatment in 2010, the painting has again been studied in New York by several of the above, as well as by David Ekserdjian (University of Leicester).

The study and examination of the painting by these scholars resulted in an unequivocal consensus that the Salvator Mundi was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and that it is the single original painting from which the many copies and versions depend. Individual opinions vary slightly in the matter of dating. Most place the painting at the end of Leonardo’s Milanese period in the late 1490s, contemporary with the completion of the Last Supper. Others believe it to be slightly later, painted in Florence (where Leonardo moved in 1500), contemporary with the Mona Lisa.

The reasons these scholars are convinced the painting is by Leonardo are several. Among the most significant are the painting’s adherence in style to Leonardo’s known paintings; the extraordinary quality of its execution; the relationship of the painting to the two autograph drawings at Windsor; its correspondence to the composition of the “Salvator Mundi” documented in Wenceslaus Hollar’s 1650 etching; and its manifest superiority to the more than 20 painted known versions of the composition.

Further crucial evidence for Leonardo’s authorship was provided by the discovery of pentimenti - preliminary compositional ideas, subsequently changed by the artist in the finished painting, but not reflected in the etching or other copies. The most prominent of these - a first position for the thumb in the blessing hand, more vertical than that in the finished picture - was uncovered and photographed during the conservation process. Other pentimenti have been observed through infrared imaging. Technical examinations and analyses have demonstrated the consistency of the pigments, media, and technique discovered in the Salvator Mundi with those known to have been used by Leonardo.

Further information

Salvator Mundi will be exhibited for the first time in “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan,” to be held at the National Gallery, London, from November 9, 2011 until February 5, 2012.

Yale University Press, London, will publish a scholarly monograph on the painting, titled The Lost Christ of Leonardo da Vinci, later this year.

Robert B. Simon is an independent art historian, private dealer and consultant in New York. He is a specialist in Italian Renaissance painting, who received his Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. For more information including a list of his scholarly publications, please visit

M/M Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan

Image above provided by Yale University Press and may not be reproduced without prior authorisation.

Aground-breaking examination of the period that fundamentally changed Leonardo’soutlook and his legacy

By Luke Syson with contributions by LarryKeith,
Arturo Galansino, Antonio Mazzotta, Minna Moore Ede,
Scott Nethersole, and Per Rumberg

­Featuring the recently authenticated Salvator Mundi ­

LEONARDO DA VINCIPainter at the Court of Milan focuses on a crucial period in the 1480s and 1490s when, asa salaried court artist to Duke Ludovico Sforza in the city-state of Milan, Leonardo produced some of the most celebrated—and influential—work of hiscareer. The Last Supper, his two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks,and the beautiful portrait of Ludovico's mistress, Cecilia Gallerani (TheLady with an Ermine), were paintings that set a new standard for his Milanese contemporaries. Leonardo's style was magnified, through collaboration and imitation, to become the visual language of the regime, and by the time hereturned to Florence in 1500, his status had been utterly transformed.

Thisground-breaking book and the landmark exhibition it accompanies offer the rareopportunity to examine a significant number of Leonardo’s works —including the recently “rediscovered” painting SalvatorMundi—which help shed light on the artist’s ideals of beauty, his understanding of how mind influences body, his theories of character and expression.


Luke Syson is Curator of Italianpaintings before 1500 and Head of Research at the National Gallery, London.

Larry Keith, Arturo Galansino, Antonio Mazzotta, Minna Moore Ede,Scott Nethersole,
and Per Rumberg are all present or formermembers of staff at the National Gallery, London.

ISBN:978-1-85709-491-6 $65.00 Cloth
320 pages
255 color + 11 b/willustrations

Accompanies the exhibition currently on view at
The National Gallery,London
November 9, 2011 to
February 5, 2012

Published by
National Gallery Company/
YaleUniversity Press


National GalleryTechnical Bulletin
Volume 32: Leonardo da Vinci: Pupil, Painter, and Master

Ashok Roy, Series Editor
With contributions by Rachel Billinge, Jill Dunkerton, Larry Keith,Antonio Mazzotta,
Rachel Morrison, David Peggie, Ashok Roy, Peter Schade, and Marika Spring

Published toaccompany the highly anticipated exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter atthe Court of Milan at the National Gallery, London, this extended volume ofthe Technical Bulletin documents new research undertaken on the life andwork of Leonardo. It includes an analysis of his time in Verrocchio's workshop,where he adopted the new technique of oil painting; an article on the recentconservation and redisplay of the London version of The Virgin of the Rocks;and examples of Leonardo's painting practice and influence while he was courtpainter to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.


Ashok Roy, Rachel Morrison, David Peggie, and Marika Spring are all staff members ofthe National Gallery Scientific Department; Rachel Billinge, Jill Dunkerton, and Larry Keith are all staff members of the National GalleryConservation Department; Peter Schadeis staff member of the National Gallery Framing Department; Antonio Mazzotta was formerlycuratorial assistant at the National Gallery.

National Gallery Technical Bulletin,Volume 32: Leonardo da Vinci: Pupil, Painter, and Master
Editor: Ashok Roy ▪ ISBN: 978-1-85709-530-2 ▪ $70.00 Paper ▪ 112pages ▪ 169 color illustrations