The UK’s Guardian reports, a painting which was stolen – and not even missed by its museum – has been returned! It is a copy of the world’s most expensive painting. Don’t know about you, but even if I had a very bad copy of a Leonardo painting, I’d miss it!
The copy of the now famous ‘Salvator Mundi’ was painted about 500 years ago. It belongs to the Doma Museum collection, at the San Domenico Maggiore church in Naples. You may have seen it, if you visited the Louvre Museum’s exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci in 2019.
Italian police found the painting in an apartment in Naples. The owner of the apartment has been arrested. The recovered work is presumed to have been created by Giacomo Alibrandi (1470 – 1524).
The artist was from Sicily but left the island to study with masters including Rafael and Leonardo. So he may have painted his copy in Leonardo’s studio in Milan. After studying with important masters, Alibrandi returned to Sicily, settling in Messina. Sicily and Naples were once one kingdom.
The reason the Doma Museum in Naples did not yet miss its copy? Like museums in many European countries, it is currently closed as part of Italy’s COVID measures. Likely, thieves used this opportunity.
As the Guardian’s article states at the end of its short article: “Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi has not been seen in public since its record-breaking sale and some experts doubt its authenticity”. Fortunately, once the Doma Museum in Naples reopens, visitors may look at this copy.