most expensive painting, has been recovered by police after it was stolen from a museum in Naples.
The artwork, which was likely painted by one of the Renaissance master’s students, was discovered at an apartment during a search in the Italian city, according to a statement issued by Italian police. The property’s 36-year-old owner was found nearby and taken into custody on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.
The portrait was modeled on Leonardo’s famed depiction of Christ with one hand raised in blessing and the other holding a crystal orb. Numerous copies of the work were made during the artist’s lifetime by his students and assistants.
Italian police present the recovered painting, which is believed to date back to the 1510s. Credit: Salvatore Laporta/IPA/Shutterstock
website that there are “several hypotheses” about the painter’s identity, with the “most convincing” theory crediting Leonardo’s student Girolamo Alibrandi.
It is believed that the painting was created in Rome before being brought to Naples by Giovanni Antonio Muscettola, an envoy and advisor to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
brochure described it as a “magnificent” copy of the artist’s masterpiece. The San Domenico Maggiore’s
online listing meanwhile described the work as a “refined” and “well preserved” pictorial draft.
reported being in possession of the work as recently as January 2020, when it was returned from Rome.
Related video: The moment Leonardo’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million in 2017.
sold for $450.3 million at Christie’s in New York. Once dismissed as a copy, it sold in the UK for just £45 ($61) in the 1950s.
disputed the attribution to Leonardo, suggesting it was at least partly created by members of his workshop, the painting was restored and authenticated before becoming the most expensive artwork ever to sell at auction. It is
widely thought that the record-breaking bid was made on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
announced that it would show the painting, it
postponed the grand unveiling in 2018 without explanation.
Top image caption: The “Salvator Mundi” copy found in Naples, Italy on January 18, 2021