CONSIDERING THE ON-AND-OFF-SLAUGHT OF WORLDLY TURMOIL that has nearly got the heavens rolling up like a scroll these days, it shouldn’t surprise anyone like Santa jollily rolling down and up chimneys or joints that this Christmas–(the Pagan-gone-Capitalist holiday which has been rendered “Christian” by the Holy Roman Catholic Church as the birthday of Jesus, of which it actually is not)–the Messiah is missing…in the form of “the world’s most expensive painting”.
But don’t panic! Jerry Saltz–one of only two “art critics” I have come across in all my years in and out of art school who I perceive actually say things worth considering (the other being Dave Hickey, a quote from him being “America is a lot more like pagan Rome than we think. We still sacrifice to objects to gain our social goals” (newsweek.com)–explains the painting in a video aired 12-4-2018: “This–is a made up piece of junk”. Don’t take it personally–he’s not talking about Jesus being a made up piece of junk. It’s just a painting! Much like how the Biblical Jesus was not born on December 25th, that particular Salvator Mundi painting–which sold for $450,312,500 (i.e. a whole lot of junk) was not born by the hand of @realLeonardo.
Saltz says of any individual work of art: “It’s either original work or it’s unoriginal” (artagencypartners.com)
In the video whose accompanying VICE article is titled “Here’s Why The World’s Most Expensive Painting Has Gone Missing”, Saltz salts the painting up for the holiday season as being a “wishlist for money, and fame”. Saltz points out that since the real Mona Lisa is owned by the Louvre, Paris, the newly created Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates needed “a male Mona Lisa…in drag”. His simple logical reasons–many resting on basic artistic principles such as composition–as to why the painting is at best the work of Leo’s students I attest rest like a rock on sound ground. After all: like Jesus himself, the painting itself–whatever it is–is the testimony and the rock. Saltz’s solution as to what to do with this “not great art” is so simple you don’t even need to add salt: “take it down, and get a real painting”. Considering that this Salvator Mundi was supposed to be unveiled to the public twice already, you gotta wonder if the Louvre Abu Dhabi are working towards that advice. However, there is more than just art and money involved: According to a money.cnn.com article from 12-11-2017 announcing the sale of the painting, “The Louvre Abu Dhabi is part of the emirate’s plans to diversify its economy away from oil. The government of Abu Dhabi said it had been eying the piece for a long time and felt it could not let this one get away” (Side note: it is an oil painting, dummies!). Ironically the Savior has gotten away from the world at large–but apparently not the whole world, as a “Professor” instrumental in “authenticating” the painting reported recently that “Nobody outside the immediate Arab hierarchy knows where it is” (howafrica.com). Now the challenge is…where and how to get a real painting?
Many people are still under the illusion that this $450,312,500 Salvator Mundi sold is what we are told. Would the National Catholic Register still call the painting a “Catholic Treasure” if they knew the truth of its identity? Has this painting been rendered a False Messiah who has been fooling the world it is the real deal? “If such a religious painting of Christ was found today in Saudi Arabia, it could be confiscated and destroyed as illegal…It’s impossible to think Saudi clerics approve of Salman’s extravagant purchase, since they forbid the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed or his prophet-messengers, of whom Jesus is considered one. It’s fair to ask if Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi is even safe in the possession of a Saudi ruler, particularly this one” (ncregister.com). However, the UAE isn’t Saudi Arabia, and a quick look at the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection online reveals that it has many religious iconographic works in its possession on display. It’s just as fair to ask if nuclear weapons are safe in the possession of these two rulers seen in this high-five at the G20 Summit.
As recently reported by Saltz in a podcast on artagencypartners.com: “Art’s greatest weapon is paradox”
“We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing” —1 Corinthians 2:6 World English Bible
On 12-22-2018, the day after this year’s Winter Solstice (and a few days before Sol Invictus), I got all four wisdom teeth removed on account of an infection and impaction that wasn’t going to dis-impact itself without intervention. A few hours after having those 3rd molar vestiges of caveman ancestry (so much for evolution! At least the 3rd eye was intelligently designed…)–the four corners of my mouth–removed, I was back to doing some usual information trolling online, and I stumbled upon an article by Saltz published in Vulture on 11-27-2018 titled “How to be an Artist: 33 Rules…“. It turns out there are more than 33 degrees (33 being a special number), as he adds a 34th rule which is “Always be nice, generous, and open with others and take good care of your teeth” (vulture.com). Well, at least I’m working on that one! But wait…by removing the teeth, am I still taking good care of them!?!?
“Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone” —Song of Solomon 4:2 NIV
I won’t be getting financial returns from the tooth fairy on these teeth, and I paid for the cost of the sedative drug for the surgery with my Amazon credit card. Who needs health coverage when you can buy everything on the amazon .com! Why go running after the government–which, as of writing is shutdown (just in time for Christmas!)–for funds when the President of the Amazon is counted as having the highest net worth of any individual person on the planet (forbes.com)? According to Wikipedia, Amazon is “one of the Big Four or “Four Horsemen” of technology” (or dare we say…apocalypse?). After all, the American government doesn’t have any money–not even a meager $5 billion dollars to build a simple wall. Isn’t it ironic that the U.S.A. is home to many of the wealthiest corporations in the world, and yet boasts the highest debt of any nation? (Why doesn’t Walmart pitch in some of its $500 billion revenue towards building a $5 billion dollar Wall?) After taxes I may get money back but I also get *bonus points* after being in debt to Amazon, so I get to have the illusion that I might be getting free money but really it just takes away some of the interest and converts it into books (that’s how you get wise!). And since Amazon is “the largest internet company by revenue in the world”, could Jeff Bezos be the Santa Claus of 2018? He doesn’t have the looks to pull off the Santa gig (unless Santa were to be restyled as an alien…which makes me wonder: Hey Jeff, where’d you get that human suit–did you buy it off Amazon?)
As for the “missing” link of the true identity and location of Salvator Mundi on this Christmas day: For whatever its worth, it is still just a painting.