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Is the Salvator Mundi really by Leonardo da Vinci? Did the restoration botch it horribly? I argue the latter is absolutely true, and the former probable. I graphically show where the restoration took some liberties that clearly illustrate a divergence from the original painting, in which case the end result is anything but a da Vinci. You can’t watch this video without seeing part 1, though it’s worth watching for entertainment value.

Here’s the video:

In the second segment of the video I begin the process of digitally restoring the painting myself, from the point where it was cleaned but not painted over by the restorer. I share 4 techniques I use — there’s a Photoshop lesson tucked in there, and compare this Salvator Mundi to three other period versions.

In the final video, I’ll share my finished attempt to fully recreate what the painting would have looked like if it were painted by Leonardo.


There are UFOs and a clip from Jesus Christ Super Star.

Above is the point where I created an outline that shows the un-retouched painting was, unlike the final version, symmetrical and coherent.

Of course there’s a martian from War of the Worlds, and a martian impression.

What video would be complete without a custom Boomhauer impression?

Above is a sample of my digital restoration of a part of painting. The pattern is a bit loose in places, and I kept it that way rather than change it.

Here’s my digital restoration in progress, and his left eye is already looking much better than the official version that sold for $450,000,000.

It’ll probably take me a week, or more, to finish retouching the painting. If you watch the video you’ll see how I’m basing it on a few different period renditions of the Salvator Mundi, all based on Leonardo’s original cartoon (as in an outlined version).

I didn’t plan on doing such an ambitious Photoshop project — recreating the world’s most expensive painting, and a presumed Leonardo depiction of Christ — that’s just an outgrowth of making a video that was originally just about pointing out some mistakes. But then I found that I obsessed on the Photoshop work, possibly because I’ve been doing 3D modeling for a half year or more, and PS is my most used artist’s tool. It’s fun to get back into it. And this is an interesting project for me. In the video you’ll see I’ve been doing a lot of research into da Vinci’s paintings, drawings, and technique.

And here are my first 3 videos, in case you missed them and feel like some independent and quirky art content:



~ Ends

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Or you can make a one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously). donate-button

7 replies on “New Video: Resurrecting Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi from Over Restoration

  1. I don’t think anyone has ever broken down the process of “recreating” a work of art with quite this technique and attention to symmetry and detail. It’s so interesting when you have all those reference sources to consult for missing pieces and/or styles. There have been so many botched restorations and this video journey really shows how easy it is to go down the inaccurate illogical or even lazy path (not to say that this restorer was lazy, but someone who is could easily just skip over the parts that are more complex).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for watching and commenting Alli. You clearly got the message I was trying to convey. When I do the conclusion I will suggest that restorers clean (within reason) and preserve, but don’t retouch difficult areas or reinterpret. I fear really a lot of great art has been botched by art restoration. Doubtlessly there are more examples where they did a fine job of rescuing a piece from dumpster.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There was a lot of varied stuff in one thread. You were spot on in the ‘cleaning’ of the Salvator Mundi. She took the soul out of it. I look at a lot of Leonardo’s stuff..he doesn’t mess up eyes like that.

    Goya…so many of his women look…uncomfortable. His men are at ease posing. I don’t know enough about the artist to know what is up with that. This Maja is a horror from the beginning. It looks like a petite woman put on an oversized Drag Queen’s chest plate. It looks in three chunks..from the waist down is fine (reminds me of the old ribald song about the mermaid where the lonely fisherman finally finds a mermaid with the top a fish and the bottom a woman.) Not only is the chest wrong the shoulders are on a plane where the neck should be, severely elongating the torso. The head looks like a pretty child’s head stuck on as an afterthought.

    King of the Hill rocks.

    yeah..except for my posts on Artprize I do not write much on visual arts on my blog. I love and follow visual arts but my professional background is performing arts. Severe ADHD or Renaissance Woman, doesn’t matter which drives me as my blog is a blog of place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we are in agreement about the Salvator Mundi, the Maja, and King of the Hill. It’s the opposite of a strike-out.

      Really appreciate you watching my videos and commenting. Since I go against the grain a bit, I’m not popular with the gatekeepers of the dominant art narrative, or the true believers. As long as a minority of people indicate they appreciate what I do, or also can see some of the same things that I point out on the horizon, I’m encouraged to keep going.

      I quite enjoy your photos on your blog. These days anyone can take a photo with their smart phones, and even before then I recall a trip I took to Laos ever a decade ago when everyone was reaching out their cameras to take the same picture. But your photos stand out because of the excellent compositions and color schemes, no matter what you take a picture of.

      I have an analogy I’m working on to explain to experts why the “modern scholars” are wrong about Goy and da Vinci. Imagine someone discovers a chalkboard with chalk still intact, and it’s filled with equations. Scholars conclude that it is definitely the work of Einstein, and it’s his theory of relativity – you can see the E=mc2 in in – and not merely a chalkboard from a classroom where he gave a lecture showing student’s work or anything like that. There’s scientific analysis of the chalk, and historical records put Einstein in the immediate vicinity at the time. But if anyone bothered to ask a scientist, they’d say the math is wrong, the equation is set up poorly, and the conclusion is false.

      Well, scientists do seem to have the last word in the scientific community, but when it comes to the art world, somehow, the opinion of artists isn’t taken seriously. And that’s where articulate artists can step in and clear up some of the nonsense on occassion, though it’s considered career suicide to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You blow me away Eric! It all makes so much sense as you go , step by step, through these issues. I haven’t seen your whole video yet, but I had to laugh at your description of the destroyer…uh, restorer’s thumb! Unbelievable, the seeming lack of effort or thought put in to her attempts. Was she paid? ….oh, my…onward and upward, my Friend…


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