The Lost Leonardo Review – Intriguing, A Jet-Setting Art World Mystery

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The Lost Leonardo, from Sony Pictures Classics, presents the stunning story of a sleeper hunter, a rare masterpiece, the debate of authenticity, a Parisian hustler, a Russian oligarch, a Saudi prince, and the largest auction price ever paid.

The documentary begins on Manhattan's Upper East side at the home Alexander Parish, an art world sleeper hunter, which is somewhat of an art sleuth searching magazines and obscure auction houses for the possibility of a major find.

He explains, during one of his searches he came across an unusual painting, which left him so intrigued he called his art dealer partner, Robert Simon, and after preforming due diligence, the paid decided to buy the painting. They spent nearly $1200 for it.


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What follows in the art world is authenticating the painting. The painting appears to be a close replica from the time frame of Leonardo di Vinci and as we hear it could be from a student of the master, the master himself, or a knock off. Restoration of the work takes a significant about of time and in Manhattan the expert in the field of Renaissance art restoration is Dianne Modestini.

Through a delicate and intricate process, it is determined that this garage sale bargain, is in actuality painted by the master Leonardo di Vinci. Introducing the painting to the world's most elite art critics, museum curators, and art scholars is the next step in the journey.

Soon the Salvator Mundi, the lost Leonardo, begins its introduction to the exclusive world of the elite and ultra-wealthy power brokers, as the original two owners, who paid less than $600 each, take on a partner, Warren Adelson, who explains he has sold paintings at this level and felt confident this sale, would be quick and they decided on a sale price of $200million.


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This begins the journey into the world of art dealers and sales. Soon time has gone by and due to controversary and asking price the Salvator Mundi is not moving. Finally, through the Sotheby's the owners are contacted, they have a buyer.

Then we meet an unsavory Parisian who negotiates a deal with the owners of $83million and in less than 24 hours sells it to a Russian oligarch for $127million. Soon the documentary unravels the hidden agendas of the richest men and most powerful art institutions in the world and reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary. 

Throughout the film, we are introduced to journalists, art critics, including Pulitzer Prize winning art critic Jerry Saltz, and art historians and scholars from the world's elite museums and institutions each who provide insight, criticism and opinion.


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The Lost Leonardo is intriguing from the beginning presenting the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi's fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money, and power. As its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity: Is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci?

Filled with international intrigue, hidden agendas, The Lost Leonardo exposes secrets that were once only known by individuals who provide services to the ultra-wealthy.

The Lost Leonardo, a jet-setting, entertaining, art world mystery, opens in theaters Friday August 13, 2021. See it.


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Country: USA.

Language: English, French, Italian (with subtitles).

Runtime: 100minutes.

Director: Andreas Koefoed.

Producer: Christoph Jorg, Andreas Dalsgaard.

Cast: Dianne Modestini, Robert Simon, Alexander Parish, Warren Adelson, Yves Bouvier, Luke Syson, Martin Kemp, Maria Teresa Fiorio, Frank Zollner, Jacques Franck, Evan Beard, Georgina Adam, Bradley Hope, Alexandra Bregman, Kenny Schachter, Jerry Saltz, Stephane LaCroix, Alison Cole, Antoine Harari, David Kirkpatrick, Robert King Wittman, Doug Patteson, Bruce LaMarche, Didier Ryknew, Bernd Lindemann.

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