Missed “Leonardo: Genius and Beauty,” exploring his cosmetic discoveries, at the Italian Trade Commission? You’re not too late to see “Leonardo da Vinci’s St. Jerome” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan through Oct. 6 only. This exhibit on a single painting, “St. Jerome Praying in the Wilderness” – commemorating the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death – captures all the poignant yearning and struggle of this saint, who spent his last years as a desert hermit, and of saintliness itself.
There’s also Ben Lewis’ “The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Expensive Painting” (Ballantine Books, $28, 363 pages). The work – “Salvador Mundi,” depicting a ravishing Jesus in Renaissance dress as savior of the world – is the subject of a great deal of controversy, with some experts questioning whether it is a Leonardo at all. What is not in dispute is that it was sold at Christie’s in Manhattan in 2017 to Prince Badr bin Abdullah for $450.3 million, making it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. Prince Badr allegedly made the purchase on behalf of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, but the painting has since disappeared. Did he really purchase it for his friend, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
Art history, meet thriller in this captivating book about the twists and turns of provenance and storytelling.
For more, visit metmuseum.org.
– Georgette Gouveia