Martin Clayton, the pinnacle of prints and drawings for the Royal Assortment Belief at Windsor Citadel, has proposed that there might have been two authentic variations of the Salvator Mundi, produced in parallel by Leonardo’s studio. His conclusions, based mostly on a meticulous research of the composition and strategy of the associated Leonardo preparatory material drawings (now within the Royal Assortment, Windsor), have been introduced at a serious convention, organised by Professor Frank Zöllner in Leipzig, dedicated to the numerous questions surrounding the Salvator Mundi mission together with the standing of the controversial $450m Saudi model.
The 2 drawings, which belong to the nice group of 500 that Leonardo left to his workshop, underneath the course of his executor and assistant Francesco Melzi, present no direct proof of an authentic Leonardo painted prototype, however undoubtedly served as studio fashions throughout Leonardo’s lifetime. Clayton introduced a revised courting for the drawings, executed in crimson chalk on crimson ready paper and numbered by Melzi 214 and 218, of round 1508-10.
The various painted variants of the Salvator Mundi composition that have been based mostly on them, Clayton famous, are represented most faithfully by two works: one previously within the Worsley and Yarborough collections, final seen at public sale in Rheims in 1962; the opposite the Ganay model, exhibited on the Louvre within the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in 2019-20 (the place the Saudi model failed to look). Solely the Worsley/Yarborough model reveals something approaching Leonardo’s detailed research for the forearm with the cuffed sleeve (214). Not one of the different identified variations observe this mannequin. Clayton means that, as with the Madonna of the Yarnwinder and (as is now believed) the Mona Lisa, parallel variations of the Salvator Mundi might have been produced in Leonardo’s studio, however with variations within the particulars.
Probably the most salient function of the bigger drawing of the material of a chest with a touch of crossed bands (218) is the conspicuous omega-shaped fold (circled), which some see as a reference to Christ’s wound and due to this fact as extremely iconographically vital. It’s faithfully rendered within the Ganay model, and continues to be current however distorted within the Naples model; however it’s barely recognisable within the confused folds of the Saudi model (maybe on account of its degraded state).
The involvement of the studio in figuring out the element of the interior sleeve, seen in a associated research on the identical sheet (218), complicates the matter additional. A right-handed studio assistant has added white to Leonardo’s left-handed crimson chalk drawing, maybe as a way of clarifying the design to be used as a studio mannequin. The studio’s position within the preparatory course of demonstrates that there’s regrettably no easy situation on this case of: Leonardo drawings; an autograph painted prototype; or a manufacturing line of copies by Leonardo’s studio and later followers.
Whereas the technical findings of the Louvre’s secret evaluation of the Saudi Salvator Mundi (carried out in 2018) proved that the palms have been a late addition to the image, the Windsor sheets, stated Clayton, counsel that the palms have been deliberate from the outset. That stated, the angle of the forearm is on a diagonal within the drawings, suggesting a extra dynamic strategy (extra akin to Durer’s Salvator Mundi), versus the stiff vertical place in all of the surviving painted variations. As to why the draperies are so unconvincingly delineated within the Saudi model, Clayton was not tempted to enterprise a solution.
• Learn all of our protection on the Salvator Mundi right here and browse our particular protection on the five-year anniversary of the sale right here