Savior of the world - Leonardo da Vinci. 66 x 45 cm.
One of the most controversial and mysterious paintings in modern art history. Written by Leonardo da Vinci at the end of the 15th century for Louis XII, it was stored for more than two hundred years in the royal families of France and England, and then disappeared from sight for many years, appearing again at the beginning of the 20th century. She was resold several times at auctions, because looking at her it was impossible to even assume that under the layers of unsuccessful painting and repainting is a masterpiece of the great master.
In the early 2000s, a masterly and painstaking restoration work was carried out, lasting six years. In 2011, after numerous art expert examinations, the authenticity of the painting was confirmed. "Savior of the world" was presented at the exhibition of works by Leonardo da Vinci in London, and we got the opportunity to admire another work of the brilliant Italian.
The artist writes the image of the Savior on a nut board, placing it strictly frontally. Such an arrangement is unusual for the painter; it is almost never found in his works.
Soft golden light pours from above, snatching a calm and majestic figure from the darkness. It may seem that we are facing a simple person, because he is not marked by either a halo or any other symbol of power. However, the glow emanating from him, the feeling of kindness and all-embracing warmth leaves no doubt that this is Jesus Christ.
We see a mature person who has gone through suffering and death, but has not lost faith. The sublime, spiritualized face gives out tremendous inner strength of mind. The rays of warm unearthly light gently lie on a high clean forehead, straight nose, set off pale skin. Light golden reflections play on curly chestnut curls, descending below the shoulders, on a soft beard framing the face. Slightly covered smart and expressive eyes stare at us intently, looking directly into the soul. Unlimited knowledge and wisdom shine in them, and love and quiet sadness are hidden behind external serenity.
A faint hint of a mysterious smile resembling the elusive smile of Gioconda was hidden in the corners of the mouth and eyes.
A carefully drawn image is, as it were, shrouded in the finest haze. The artist’s strokes are invisible, the shape of the figure is slightly blurred, half-tones smoothly flow into each other, giving the image volume. Thanks to his excellent knowledge of anatomy, new painting techniques, including sphumato, developed by him, Leonardo da Vinci was able to capture the Savior alive and absolutely real.
The graceful hands of Christ are beautifully written. His right hand is raised, fragile long fingers are folded in a blessing gesture. But at the same time, blessing, he urges us to stop for a while, to think about the eternal.
The left hand confidently and securely holds a transparent glass ball with flickering small splashes. This is a symbol of our fragile world, which he was sent to save. Nothing will be hidden from the Savior, all human thoughts and deeds are known to him.
Some researchers disputing the authorship of Leonardo da Vinci believed that such a scientist could not be mistaken in transmitting the refraction of light in a crystal ball. But as a result of the experiments, scientists proved that the image is true, it’s just hollow inside.
The master accurately conveys the volume of soft folds of the blue tunic, the shades of which smoothly change from light blue to dark blue, and the texture of the fabric. The folds of the sleeve of the white shirt adjacent to the wrist are carefully drawn.
The tunic is decorated with elegant chocolate-brown braid with a geometric ornament of sand-red color. The same patterned ribbons cross on the chest of Christ. Small highlights sparkle on the gemstones adorning the robe.
A dark parapet in the foreground separates our real world from the spiritual world.
The picture does not have a bright palette and a wide variety of colors, muted, natural shades of only three colors prevail: blue (from smoky blue to deep blue), brown (from pale flesh to dark chestnut) and deep black.
Such colors are very symbolic. The harmonious combination of blue (symbolizing heavenly, divine) and brown (meaning earthly, human) emphasizes the combination in Jesus of a dual nature: he is the son of God, born of an ordinary woman. And, of course, black is a symbol of eternity.
The artist managed in this portrait to combine together the seemingly incompatible human emotions and divine detachment and serenity.
Great is the feat of Christ, he was sent by God the Father to save life, his name “Salvator Mundi” is the Savior of the world.
The picture was not presented at the exhibition of works by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre in 2019. Its owner, the prince of Saudi Arabia, stores it on his yacht. A cultural center is being built for her, where again the creation of the greatest Italian master can be seen.