Martin Kemp on Lost Leonardos

My colleague (and editor) at ArtInfo recently published an excellent, extended interview with the great Oxford art historian, Martin Kemp, who is the world’s leading Leonardo scholar.  The long interview goes into much detail about Kemp’s belief in the authenticity of two newly-discovered works thought to be by Leonardo: Salvator Mundi, which will feature for the first time in the upcoming National Gallery exhibit in London entitled “Leonardo: the Painter at the Court of Milan,” which opens November 9; and a work on paper entitled La Bella Principessa, which featured controversially in the excellent New Yorker feature by David Grann called “Mark of a Masterpiece.”

Lost Leonardos are incredibly rare and it is astonishing to find two genuine possibilities rising to the surface now.  Salvator Mundi certainly looks good in digital images and it has convinced the experts.  La Bella Principessa, however, divides experts.  Kemp believes that it is authentic, but those who read David Grann’s truly remarkable article will understand why there are doubts.

I will have an Op-Ed in the LA Times in early November entitled “How To Spot a Lost Leonardo,” which will go over the process of authenticating a new work when it first surfaces.  The article will be reproduced here.  Stay tuned.

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