14 November 2021



The Prado in Madrid has Salvator Mundi on display in its current exhibit Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa. In the Prado’s catalogue for the exhibit the Prado categorizes Salvator Mundi with “Attributed works, Workshop or Authorized and Supervised Works by Leonardo.”

In April 2021, the painting had been certified as an authentic Leonardo da Vinci by the Louvre.

The painting was sold by Christie’s in 2017 as an authentic work by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)- Prince Badr bin Abdullah, the Saudi Arabian culture minister, was the buyer. The price was $450.3 million. The sale broke auction records. In 2005, Salvator Mundi was spotted by two art dealers when it was offered at a minor New Orleans auction.

Salvator Mundi was to be shown at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2018, but the exhibit was cancelled.

Only about twenty paintings are attributed to Leonardo. How much Leonardo contributed to them, however, is the subject of much controversy. Only about six paintings are accepted by the vast majority of scholars as by Leonardo himself. The earliest of these is The Anunciation (ca. 1472-1475) at Munich’s Alte Pinakothek.


Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi, oil on walnut panel.

The Prado catalogue also labels its copy of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa as Workshop of Leonardo. The colors on the Prado Mona Lisa are clearer and brighter than those of the Louvre’s original.

Scholars disagree or which Leonardo student or students painted the Prado Mona Lisa. The Prado, however, believes the Leonardo student who painted their Mona Lisa also painted another version of Salvator Mundi, called the Ganay Salvator Mundi (private collection) and the Hammer Museum’s Saint Anne.

The date of the $450 million Salvator Mundi remains controversial. The Prado exhibition catalogue dates the other copy of Salvator Mundi, the Ganay Salvator Mundi, to 1505-1516.

According to the Prado, neither version of The Madonna of the Yarnwinder is by Leonardo himself.

The Prado’s Leonardo exhibit will be on until January 2022.

Art Experts often works on complicated cases of Old Masters attribution. We would be honored to help you determine the authenticity of your painting.