A Leonardo da Vinci Scholar Says He Knows the True Painter of the $450 Million 'Salvator Mundi'

Carl Court, Getty Images
Carl Court, Getty Images

Salvator Mundi broke the record for most expensive painting of all time when a Saudi prince purchased it for $450 million at auction in 2017. The piece, a portrait of Christ, was presented by Christie's as an authentic work of Leonardo da Vinci, but from the time of the purchase, art experts have been skeptical of that claim. Now, The Guardian reports that an art historian at Oxford University may have figured out who the true artist is: Leonardo's assistant.

In a forthcoming update of his book, titled Leonardo da Vinci, Matthew Landrus makes the case that the majority of Salvator Mundi was actually painted by Bernardino Luini. Luini worked with Leonardo in his studio and was heavily influenced by his mentor's art style. According to Landrus, the gold bands in Salvator Mundi, the fabric of the robes, and the modeling of Christ's face all bear strong similarities to elements found in other known Luini works.

The most expensive Luini painting sold at auction to date cost only $654,545, which would make Salvator Mundi worth significantly less than its selling price if the theory holds true. But Landrus says calling it a Leonardo da Vinci painting isn't completely inaccurate: While Luini painted most of the work, he says that Leonardo likely painted 5 to 20 percent.

Before the painting hit the auction block, scientists analyzed its composition to reveal it contained rare and expensive pigments that would have only been available to an artist of Leonardo's stature in 1500. If the painting did come from Leonardo's studio, but not from his hand, that would explain the inconsistencies many art scholars have pointed out.

Salvator Mundi will be displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi this September before moving to the Louvre in Paris next year.

[h/t The Guardian]

Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year is 'Sociable and Spirited' Living Coral


Goodbye violet, and hello coral. Pantone has named “Living Coral” its Color of the Year for 2019, but you still have the rest of the month to wear out this year’s shade of “Ultra Violet.”

The orange-pink hue (officially PANTONE 16-1546) is a response to an environment in flux and the human need to feel connected to other people, even as technology becomes more and more embedded in our daily lives, according to Pantone. "Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity,” the company writes on its website. “Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”

As the world’s leading authority on color, Pantone’s picks for Color of the Year have been informing the worlds of interior decorating, fashion, graphic design, and other creative fields since 1999. The company’s Color Institute chose cerulean blue as its very first prediction for the year ahead (2000), according to the history section of Pantone’s website.

The intensive process of predicting the next color to take over the design world begins with noticing the hues that are starting to appear more prominently in new fashion lines, films, cars, art, and the streets of some of the world’s trendiest places, like London, Paris, and Milan.

In 2014, Leatrice Eiseman—executive director of the Pantone Color Institute—told Glamour that Pantone’s color experts are trained to look at “macro influences” around the world. “You can’t look just in the category that’s of specific interest,” Eiseman said. “You might manufacture clothing, but you have to know what’s happening in the bigger world around you so you know what color to choose.”

For those more interested in practical interior design trends than all-encompassing color schemes, paint brand Benjamin Moore has also revealed its color of the year for 2019. A cool gray hue (called Metropolitan AF-690) was chosen for the “calming role” it plays in our lives and our homes.

There’s a Snowman Hiding In These Snowflakes—Can You Spot It?

Gergely Dudás is a master of hidden image illustrations. The Hungarian artist, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his inventive designs, going all the way back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015.

In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. So what would the holiday season be without yet another Dudolf brainteaser? At first glance, his latest image (click on the post above to see a larger version) looks like a brightly colored field of snowflakes. But look closer—much, much closer—and you'll find a snowman hiding in there. Or you won't. But we promise it's there. (Dudolf has thoughtfully included a link to the solution on his Facebook page, so that you can either confirm your brilliance or just skip the brain strain altogether.)

If you like what you see here, Dudolf has an entire holiday-themed book of hidden images, Bear's Merry Book of Hidden Things: Christmas Seek-and-Find, which has been described as "Where’s Waldo? for the next generation." He also regularly posts new images to both his blog and Facebook page.