Is the Leonardo da Vinci Painting “Salvator Mundi” (Which Sold for $450 Million in 2017) Actually Authentic?: Michael Lewis Explores the Question in His New Podcast

Journalist and bestselling author Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short) has a new podcast, Against the Rules, that “takes a searing look at what’s happened to fairness—in financial markets, newsrooms, basketball games, courts of law, and much more. And he asks what’s happening to a world where everyone loves to hate the referee.” That is, what happens when we, as a society, lose confidence in the arbiters of truth and fairness?

In Episode 5, Lewis focuses on “Salvator Mundi,” a painting of Jesus Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, which famously sold at auction for $450 million in 2017. Pretty remarkable, considering that some question whether “Salvator Mundi,” is really a Leonardo painting at all. Or, if it is, whether the highly-restored painting still retains any brushstrokes from Leonardo himself. This leads Lewis to ask some intriguing questions about the authenticity of art, and to explore the pressure placed on the referees of art–namely, art historians–to confirm the authenticity of potentially valuable paintings. Below, you can stream the episode, “The Hand of Leonardo.”

As a bonus, we’ve also added an episode that examines how sketchy “customer service” companies mislead people trying to repay their student loans, and how the Trump administration has undermined government agencies designed to protect debt-strapped Americans.

Michael Lewis’ Against the Rules is listed in our new collection, The 150 Best Podcasts to Enrich Your Mind.

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  • Adam Heredia says:

    Part of the strangeness surrounding this piece is the lack of pre-restoration/conservation documentation.
    It is standard operating procedure to photo document the piece before during and after the intervention. They allege they omitted this step. Then there the strange need to form a financial consolidated group for an alleged run of the mill midevil painting. The 3rd strangeness is they allege they knew nothing of any da Vinci connection when they first purchased a heavily over painted piece.

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