A $450 million painting believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci become a pawn in geopolitical power

Robert Simon (left) and Alexander Parish (right) in “The Lost Leonardo.” Image by Adam Jandrup, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The art world was stunned in 2017 when an anonymous bidder at Christie’s auction house offered the highest amount ever for a single painting. It was Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Jesus Christ, entitled “Salvator Mundi” (Latin for “savior of the world”). Christie’s called it the male Mona Lisa. The painting hasn’t been seen since the day it was sold. Many experts believe it wasn’t even painted by da Vinci. The story of this artwork and what it says about the unregulated global art market is the subject of a new documentary called “The Lost Leonardo.”

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