One more art historian joining the chorus to say that it isnt all Leonardo!
But does it even matter if he painted everything himself or not?
Hyperallergic: Who is Bernardino Luini and what makes him a more likely painter of “Salvator Mundi” than Leonardo himself?
Matthew Landrus: Born in c.1480, Luini was a painter who worked across Venice and Milan until his death in about 1532. His earliest training actually occurred at the Lombardy capital’s Duomo before traveling to Veneto from about 1504–1508. When he returned to Milan, he became heavily influenced by both Leonardo and Raphael. He’s associated with Leonardo’s studio somewhere between 1509–1512, which encapsulates the same period of time when “ Salvator Mundi ” was created. His work shows an approach similar to the painting, which he actually produced a couple of examples of himself.
Luini was an artist who valued painting for whatever aesthetics his specific audience wanted. In Veneto, he would paint in the Venetian style. (We actually have a 1507 painting of his done in this style.) When he gets to Lombardy, his style becomes inextricably associated with Milanese taste, including darker backgrounds and figures emerging from that space with landscapes sometimes in the background — landscapes often seen from an open window.
In the 2018 edition of my book, I’m actually agreeing with people that “ Salvator Mundi ” is partially in Leonardo’s hand. The new thing that I’m saying is that Luini has the best comparable examples, like “Christ Among the Doctors,” in which you can see real similarities. One thing that isn’t clear from other reports is that I’m not trying to challenge Christie’s or UAE. This is about what’s new in Leonardo studies. I think the question of how we attribute authorship to the painting is itself an issue. I think we need to clarify that the market is another animal compared to art history.