The Week (US)

Maybe it really is a Leonardo?


diplomatic standoff between the two countries,” he said, “but the crown prince was offended by the French.” When the painting will be shown again remains a question.

Not all experts agree it’s an authentic Leonardo, said Alison Cole in The Art Newspaper. The French director of a new documentar­y claims that some experts at the Louvre concluded after extensive testing that it was a product of Leonardo’s studio, with the master serving as a mere contributo­r. Antoine Vitkine, whose Saviour for

Sale opened this week, says decisions about how the work would be presented went all the way to French President Emmanuel Macron, because Saudi Arabia is a top customer of the French weapons industry and is spending billions of euros more to win France’s imprimatur on the kingdom’s effort to establish itself as an arts destinatio­n. Vitkine says Macron didn’t have the secret documents that were leaked to the Times that show the museum later endorsing the piece as fully Leonardo’s; he was only told there were still doubts. Vitkine says that “you cannot underestim­ate the political pressures that pollute what should be a neutral artistic and scientific debate by highly competent people.”

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