A Da Vinci Masterpiece Sold at Auction

Source: FSSPX News

On November 15, 2017, the last painting by Leonardo da Vinci which is still privately owned was sold at auction: Salvator Mundi, a masterpiece of Christian art from the Renaissance.

Salvator Mundi was inspired by iconography that began to appear in the West in the 14th century, which was made popular by Van Eyck, Memling, and Van der Weyden.

The frontal pose of Leonardo’s Christ, with His eyes looking towards us, recalls the technique of Byzantine icons, whose purpose is to provoke a direct encounter with the divine.

The hand raised in blessing, as François Boespflug, a Christian art historian, remarks, appeared very early on in Christian art and imitates “the gesture of the ancient speaker in the agora, demanding silence in order to speak.” Christ is the Word made Flesh.

In Byzantine art, the Pantocrator blesses with His thumb placed over the folded ring finger and pinkie finger, a gesture in which certain historians see an image of the Divine Trinity.

In the West, Christ’s thumb is left free as He blesses, while He joins His index and middle fingers, perhaps to symbolizes His double nature, divine and human.

The crystal globe, or orb, represents much more than the earth: Christ holds the entire universe in His hand, for a circle is the symbol both of totality and of perfection.

Here we see an entire catechism class contained in a single painting.