THE LOST LEONARDO – A Review By Gadi Elkon

Riveting documentary that dives into the extraordinary mysterious odyssey of the infamous lost painting of Leonardo Da Vinci.  THE LOST LEONARDO is out in theaters today and here is Gadi Elkon’s review of the film.

THE LOST LEONARDO is the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brush strokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi’s fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. As its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity: is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci?

That final question of the synopsis is so pivotal to the appeal of this documentary.  The way in which the full story is laid out as an unraveling mystery is just perfect.  The haunting musical score by Sveinung Nygaard immediately pulls you into Director Andreas Koefoed’s whirl wind telling of the Salvator Mundi’s unique journey.  The film has the usual talking heads but in the art world these are some of the most influential names and figures.  The validity and the epic voyage of the potential Da Vinci lost painting is always in question.  The movie does a lovely job of imparting the full story even though the major auction houses, the many owners and finally the governments involved in the painting’s life would not work with the filmmakers.  How do you tell a painting’s crazy story if the people who actually have had the painting the longest aren’t giving their side of the story?  The Lost Leonardo does a fantastic job of doing that even though the mystery still shrouds the painting.

The authenticity of the painting is a wonderfully touched upon and both arguments of yes it is or no it isn’t have their representation in the movie.  It is unique to hear how divided the art world was and is about this painting’s ultimate connection to the master artist.  From the placement of the thumb to the curls on Jesus we get to explore the full perspectives of how these historians, restorers and art buyers view the painting.  The filmmakers spend a majority of the film diving into the validity of the painting.  Its this question that is the through line that will keep you fascinated during the entire movie.

Once the unveiling of a mysterious buyer of the work is tackled in the film we are given a really extensive look into the horrors of the art world.  The shady nature behind the acquiring of these paintings is only outdone by the shady figures that are involved.  The lengthy historical ties add layers upon layers of appeal in seeing how a painting makes it into the modern world and who all is apart of that journey.  The fact that this painting would crush all known money evaluations of art and involve nations is incredible.  The current owner of the painting himself is one of the world’s most intriguing or infamous figures.  The film does an amazing job of highlighting the majestic nature of art while also making the shady reality so apparent.  You will be flabbergasted by just how and why this story is utterly true.

One of the year’s best documentaries for its amazing scope of story but also its just a freaking entertaining ride.


Directed by: Andreas Koefoed

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 1h 36min


In theaters  August 27th


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.


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