Leonardo da Vinci’s recently rediscovered painting Salvator Mundi (ca. 1500) may very well eclipse the Mona Lisa in fame, though the reasons why have to do less with its art-historical significance than its market value—the painting sold for $450 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017. This paradox guides Andreas Koefoed’s masterfully told documentary The Lost Leonardo, which debuted this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. In just 95 minutes, Koefoed charts how the painting became the most expensive artwork of all time and how it mysteriously disappeared, in the process managing to offer new insights into a story that has been explored ad nauseam in the press.
The film opens dramatically, with reenacted footage of a man rifling through an art storage unit at night. With a flashlight in hand, he explains what a “sleeper” painting is: “a painting that’s being offered … which is … Read the rest