Fears over world’s most expensive painting that sold for £344million amid claims National Gallery failed to record suspicions it might not be by Da Vinci

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THE world’s most expensive painting might not have been created by Leonardo da Vinci, fresh rumours have revealed.

The authenticity of the Salvator Mundi, which sold for £344million, has been thrown in the air amid claims London’s National Gallery mislead the art world.

The painting, Salvator Mundi, said to be the work of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci
The painting, Salvator Mundi, said to be the work of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci
Getty – Contributor

The value of the painting dramatically increased after it was included in the gallery’s 2011 blockbuster Leonardo show.

In 2017, it was sold at a record-breaking price to someone thought to have been acting for Saudi Arabia’s ruler.

But art scholar Ben Lewis insists the gallery didn’t record the doubts historians had over who actually painted Salvator Mundi.

Five experts were asked to analyse the painting in 2008, and only two of them agreed that it was Leonardo’s handiwork, Mr Lewis claimed.

NOT A WORD

He reported his findings in his new book, which are described in the Times Magazine as, “two Yeses, one No, and two No Comments.”

But in its catalogue, the gallery didn’t reveal any doubts over its status as an “autograph” by Lenoardo, which helped its value increase.

Mr Lewis claimed the National Gallery’s creator at the time said it wasn’t a mistake to not air one historian’s views.

In his book, he wrote the gallery did not say there was “any kind of question mark over it”.


His apparent revelations comes after the painting’s exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi was cancelled last year without an explanation.

A spokesman for the National Gallery told Sun Online: “The National Gallery makes careful consideration before including any loan in an exhibition.

“It weighs up the advantage in including it – the benefit to the public in seeing the work, the advantage to the argument and scholarship of the exhibition as a whole.

“On that occasion we felt that it would be of great interest to include ‘Salvator Mundi’ in ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Painter of the Court of Milan’ as a new discovery as it was an important opportunity to test a new attribution by direct comparison with works universally accepted as Leonardo’s.”

Ben Lewis’ book The Last Leonardo: the Secret Life of the World’s Most Expensive Painting,will be released April 18.

: A member of staff poses with a painting by Leonardo da Vinci entitled'Salvator Mundi'
: A member of staff poses with a painting by Leonardo da Vinci entitled ‘Salvator Mundi’
Getty Images – Getty
Agents celebrate after buying the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" during the Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie's on November 15, 2017
Agents celebrate after buying the auction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” during the Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale at Christie’s on November 15, 2017
Getty Images – Getty

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