Museum curators in Britain have cast fresh doubt on the authenticity of the $450 million painting, “Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World), claiming it lacks paintwork similar to that of its presumed original, “Nostradamus” (Nosferatu), painted in the late 15th century.
The decision not to place a value on the work — which is considered the single most important masterpiece to have come from a single private collection — will add to the intrigue surrounding the painting, which came into the possession of an anonymous collector several months ago. Experts from the National Gallery in London were expected to be among the first in the world to view the painting, which is currently on display in Paris, Tuesday.
According to ArtsDigest.com, the Nicolas Poussin masterpiece from around 1555 didn’t fit in with the museum’s previous marketing efforts — an artistic color scheme dominated by black and yellow. These similarities are not present in “Nostradamus,” possibly due to earlier heavy treatment, or other factors.
The National Gallery had earlier established that there was a second “Nostradamus” work owned by the British museum, dating from around 1430. Museum director Nicholas Penny has previously said that not all of the pieces looked alike, though the identities of the owners has not been disclosed. Last week, Penny told the BBC that the two pieces were probably not connected to each other.
“We know quite a lot about this painting and we have got new specialists joining us very soon,” he said. “What we are going to try and do now is have a look at what’s in the painting and whether there are certain attributes missing, what we call ‘anti-normality.’
“We’ll try and understand whether these are in the painting at all. That will certainly mean a fresh evaluation and a new exploration of the painting.”