The Hand of Leonardo


So ladies gentlemen, we move to the Leonardo da Vinci. The Salvator Mundi, the masterpiece by Leonardo of crisis savior previously in the collections of three kings of England art ninety million being auctioned, the parting of rich people from their money ninety five and I go one cent. It takes me back to the early nineteen eighties. And my first job after college. I was the stock boy for a New York art dealer. Call Wildenstein just about everything about the place felt like a secret except for how it started at the end of the nineteenth century Jewish street. Peddler in Paris named Nathan Wildenstein traded rags for paintings with some oddball artists, they called themselves. The impressionists he did this. So well that by the time, I got to the Wildenstein's the family had the most valuable private collection of art in the world, huge vaults line with racks of Monet's Renoirs and Poirots that no one had ever seen. They had Rembrandt's they had Raphael's. They had sixty nine Fragonard 's today the whole collection would fetch fifty billion dollars easily, but it was a strange business selling art. So guarded, the Wildenstein family didn't even really want customers to know what they had for sale to keep their tax status as a public gallery. They stuck a few obscure paintings on the downstairs walls the rest. They kept hidden upstairs with me. And so when people ask me what I actually did for the Wildenstein gallery. I found it hard to explain one of my predecessors had put his foot through his on. Clearly, my job was not to do that. But most of the time I just sat in a small cubby upstairs in waited to be asked to move the art around. There was the aroma of Cologne warned by rich Frenchman. But otherwise the place was a sensory deprivation chamber weeks would pass without anyone showing up. Then one day Thomas Hoving appeared. Hoving just spent a decade running the Metropolitan Museum of art and was still a huge deal in the art world. The Wildenstein's told me to show him whatever he wanted to see no one else got that sort of treatment Hoving, trusted, his first impressions? Actually. That's not quite right. He made a fetish of his first impressions. As I hall paintings in and out of the viewing room he stood with his back to me. He refused so much as to glimpse the pictures until I had them set up on the easel, I grunt and groan under some laughing cavalier by FRANZ halls and hoisted onto the red velvety isil, then I'd say ready, and he'd swivel kind of like a gunfighter and blurt whatever popped into his head sublime luminous nineteenth century copy. And every now and then he'd swivel and holler fake. Life in the art world had made Thomas Hoving wary as he stood in front of art works in the Wildenstein vault. He told me that half the paintings in American museums were not by the person whose name was on the wall. They were by someone else in assistant a follower before jer Hoving said that was the point of all the secrecy to hide the way the art world really worked in the way. It worked was that the referees and the art market the experts who declared a painting was by this old master or that one those experts were encouraged to make mistakes Aref who attributed a painting to a famous artist was paid a lot better than ref who said it was by some obscure assistant. Hoving may have been the single savviest player. The art market has ever seen by my time. It Wildenstein he was representing private collectors, and he didn't want his clients to be fleeced. He trusted his first impressions. Because there was nothing else to trust the art world, more or less was rigged. That's what he was saying and the referees help to rig it. The rest repaid to say, yes, yes. It's a Rembrandt. Yes. It's a Monet. Yes. It's leonardo. Where's that one? Fifty welcome. At one hundred fifty million won sixty might take it at one hundred and fifty million many places still sixties, I'm Michael Lewis. And this is against the rules. A show about the attack on the thority of the referees in American life. And what that's doing to our idea. Fairness. Ten to big. Carvey hanging with Alex right to. Leonardo through ten you coming to forty million. Konda used to be the alternate arbiter, especially in legal cases, even this is Walter Isaacson. He's written books about Ben Franklin, Albert, Einstein and Steve Jobs. And now he's written about Leonardo Davinci and told the story of this mysterious painting supposedly by Leonardo of Jesus Christ Walters interested in who gets to decide who painted what? And how they decide the art refs. They would bring in Thomas Hoving biller people like that. And they would make a pronouncement and then just not not brook any dissent whatsoever. As it happens. Walter, and I went to the same high school in New Orleans. He was eight years ahead of me every couple of years the entire student body of the door. Newman school would be herded into the school auditorium to hear Walter. Speak there. We were told all over again that we should all be a bit more like Walter in every time Walter had some new achievement. I had gone to Harvard then had been a Rhodes scholar then had been the youngest editor ever time magazine. God knows if that was even true, that's what they told us and here he and I are again, he somehow now written the best biography of Leonardo Davinci, which brings us to this painting called, Salvator Mundi and a question who painted it. There are few facts you need to know about the Salvator Mundi. The first is that it depicts a common subject in the history of western art, Christ as the savior of the world been painted thousands and thousands of times in more or less the same way Jesus looking bored or even a bit stoned stares straight ahead, his left hand holds a globe in his right hand is held up by his side. In the version. I'm talking about Jesus has his fingers crossed like maybe he's just fibbing. The second thing you need to know about this particular painting called Salvator Mundi. It was auctioned by Christie's in November two thousand seventeen up to that point. There was no record of Leonardo Davinci having painted it. Most paintings by Leonardo can be linked to documents that describe Leonardo working on it or promising to work on it, or at least pretending to work on it. He painted so little and so reluctantly. It whatever he did paint usually struck his contemporaries as worth mentioning. The Salvator Mundi has got nothing not so much as a footnote in. Leonardo's diaries one of Leonardo's assistance mentions Leonardo being asked to paint something called Christ the father, and that's it. Last thing. Most of Leonardo's paintings have his actual fingerprints on them. He likes much the paint. Are there any fingerprints on the Salvador Monday is or anybody out there's well, no, there's no Leonardo fingerprint that authentic h it? The first mention of what might be the painting comes in sixteen fifty one that's one hundred and thirty two years after Leonardo died. A piece of Christ done by Leonardo was listed along with the rest of Charles the first possessions after he was beheaded in London for treason, but it's unclear exactly which piece of Christ. It was around the same time. A check artist named Wenceslas Haller made an engraving of Jesus as savior of the world that engraving was said to be a copy of Leonardo. But that engraving also looks like any number of Salvador Moonies. It was yawn row by this. Point if anyone back in those days had any conviction that Leonardo painted, this particular, Salvador Mundi? They did a really good job of hiding their feelings. Meanwhile, the painting that Christie's eventually sold that got tossed around for years as if it had no special value right through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The picture was identified as the work of someone called Bernardino looney then later as the copy of a work by someone else called bowl trophy. Oh. And no one really bothered to keep track of it by the nineteen fifties. It was officially lost. Oh, but it wasn't lost. It was in New Orleans hanging. Just a short walk from the houses where Walter and I live right through our childhoods. It had been bought in the late nineteen fifties in London for forty five pounds by New Orleans. Couple named Warren and many Kunz the Koussa's lived on the same street as my parents, six blocks away everyday for roughly eight years, I rode my bicycle to school past this mysterious painting who knew not me, not Walter. No one. Anyway, Warren, mini coons died and left their art collection to their nephew in two thousand four the nephew died and his heirs sold it through a New Orleans auction house. That's where New York art dealer. Robert Simon pay ten thousand dollars for Tartu say what it was it was a severely damaged torso. And head of a sad. Looking stonier holding a crystal orb yet, it started with Robert Simon couple of dealers who kind of found it had a sense of what it might be. Then they have cleaned cleaned. I mean, what exactly do they do? Well, they over cleaned it. An over restored at many critics would say the question is how many current brush drugs on that piece of wood actually were from a brush being held by the hand of Leonardo. And I suspect not many because you know, probably done by artist studio. And certainly the restoration when it was found in Louisiana Jesus had a beard. So they take the beard off of him in the restoration because Lintas Las hollered copy done three or four centuries ago didn't have a beard. So when they were store they take the beard off. So it begins to get more musing, maybe. But even after the Salvator Mundi has been repainted feel more likely Ardo. It's still doesn't feel much like Leonardo for example, the crystal orb is a real problem, at least if you wanna believe Leonardo painted reading your book, the person I'm reading about would revel in showing the optical affects of the clear globe on the other side of the globe. And he doesn't do that. Right. And that's a bit of a mystery which you have there is a crystal orb that Jesus holding and a crystal orb as Leonardo very well new because. He studied lenses, and the focusing of light would have distorted the robe of of Jesus. And yet there's not the tiniest bit of distortion in the robes of Jesus. But what the restore does to the painting maybe less important than what she doesn't do. This would be the moment to test the pain to see the sort of stuff that Leonardo used to test. The would Bassy how old it is. And to do this out in the open, the people who had this painting the dealers who discovered it, and we're trying not indicated they had it restored by goodwill stores, but all done in secret. It wasn't as if we have what we think is a Leonardo, and we want one hundred experts in and we're going to invite television crews end in science, and as we strip off parts of the paint and take his beard off and repaint some of the strokes that would have been a period where you probably could have had more independent scientific and techno. Michael analysis. But I think they were keeping it under wraps, then for reasons I understand, but on totally perfectly. So would be the good reason to do that. I think that they wanted to keep it under wraps because they hadn't finished offense accounting. They hadn't put up for sale. It's pretty great. You find this painting in Louisiana. You really hope it's Leonardo. So you can sell it as a Leonardo. But the smart way to do. This is to keep it in hiding for a while. Then they I go to the experts referees. And only now after the paintings been gussied up by its new owners do the authenticates get involved, but not openly the new owners don't just call in any referee who might have something useful to say about Leonardo era paintings after Jesus has been repainted heavily. And he looks a lot more likely than he did before the new owners hand pick the refs. They want to see the painting in a way that makes the refs feel like they're being invited into an exclusive club. They send them this note saying we all convinced that it is not as regional Russian. Although some of us consider that maybe parts, which are by the work show. Would you be free to come to London at anytime in this period? We all only inviting two or three scholars only two or three scholars that was an against the rules reenactment, by the way, one of the authenticates later declare. Bears. The painting look to him uniquely Nardo in conceptual terms in the way, it looks at the sheer complexity of seeing what stands out from me. No one seems to object to these authenticates assessing the painting in the presence of people with financial stake in their judgements. And by the time, the scholar show up the stakes are huge if two or three refs declare the picture Leonardo. It will be included in a blockbuster Leonardo show at the National Gallery in London and the experts declare yes, it's a Leonardo not kidding one o'clock this morning lines seven hundred when we people camping out on museum steps for spa. They will seem to cave. To cave videos on the national gallery's website for years to come people. Get this pilgrimage to make contact with. Genius. From palm. So that was the two thousand eleven show at the National Gallery, and guess what happens after it? The Salvator Mundi is sold in secret to a Russian billionaire for one hundred ten million dollars, the Russian billionaire sticks in Swiss warehouse for a few years, and then put it up for auction at Christie's for those of you following online. You may not have heard the big was three hundred fifty was cold all the telephone not three hundred fifty million Leonardo Salvator Mundi at three hundred and fifty mid air Christie's at three hundred fifty minute and looking for another bit police Ross well at three fifty. When that painting was being sold. You didn't hear whispers of doubt? It was definitely by Leonardo by the time. It was old. Yeah. Well, they did a very good publicity job. And even I was on some panels that they organized, and you know, they rolled it out beautifully. And brought it to San Francisco and Leonardo DiCaprio looked at it. And you know, it was very well handled. Not just the going to the traps of authentication, but also the publicity traps. And then I'll realize this wasn't because it was even Leonardo or because of the inherent value of the painting. It was because it was called the last Leonardo was the way they marketed this at the auction. The point isn't whether or not this particular, Salvator Mundi, Leonardo I have no idea of brush attached to the hand of Leonardo Davinci was responsible for any of the strokes on the thing. The point is that no one else does either. There is no good evidence. One way or the other only the opinions of a few rafts and the refs are clearly more compromised than you'd ideally want such a person to be, you know, you have many ways of making money off of you get to write the book the catalog if it turns out to be Leonardo it's much better than saying. Hey, no, no. That's just a twentieth. Century fake. They may or may not have been paid directly for their opinions. But they do much better for themselves. If they say, yes, yes. It's a Leonardo. Until now this entire podcast has been about the death of the referee. Everywhere you turn you could find referees under assault. There are thirty questioned their expertise doubted, but there's an exception a certain clean of ref still retains enormous power and prestige the authenticating the people who were there to assure us that thing is real. Once you start looking for these sorts of refs. You see them everywhere and the money they can manufacture more or less out of thin air. Let's consider the market for used cars just for a minute. So I by the car, I drive off the Lunt. I'm not doing anything. Crazy. Nothing happens to the car. Then I can't sell the car for what it's worth. So that's the point here. You have a case where a market has disappeared. That's George Aker lawf- professor of economics. He's famous in part because he's married to Janet Yellen. Who was the chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he's also famous for some thoughts. He had on his own back in the late nineteen fifties seemingly obvious question crossed his mind. What is a brand new car lose so much value? The moment it leaves the lot. If the same car, why should it plummet almost instantly up to van economists assume that buyers and sellers come to a transaction with basically the same information? But with things like used cars, that's obviously not true. Maybe the buyer and seller. Don't have the same information. You thing. Think that the seller has more information than the buyer the seller knows that that car just yesterday went over that terrible bump and then something else went wrong. And immediately decided I've had this car too long. I'm going to see if I can sell it to somebody else. So Acharaf wrote this paper called the market for lemons. It shows that when the seller knows more than the buyer and the buyer knows that the buyer lowers the price he's willing to pay any lowers it to the point where only the sellers of really crappy used cars are willing to deal causing the buyers to lower their prices even further it becomes a vicious cycle. Under the weight of all those lemons, the market simply collapses, a trusted ref can make this kind of market work making the buyer field protected from whatever secrets the seller might have by making the buyer feel like he's not getting lemon. There's no market for a badly damaged painting of Jesus Christ until a few. Art ref step in and say, yes, it's a Leonardo. The ref exist to restore the allusion that there are no secrets. Now. You might think why would a market in need of a neutral ref wind up with a ref who actually isn't neutral, but look around it happens a lot just ask Steve is men, although people seem to know me as the big short, Allah. Michael Lewis, Steve Carell played is men in the movie as a character with such a gift for insulting Wall Street. Big shots that the people who work for him, we go to meetings just to watch. But the bigger point about Heisman is that it didn't trust anyone not even the refs and his distrust made him rich, the crash of two thousand and eight gets called a housing crisis. But it was more of a trust crisis. People trusted the ratings agencies whose job was to evaluate the risk of subprime home loans, and they will give different letters to them. So the the best rating is triple A. Which means the probability of loss is almost zero these ratings agencies, Moody's and standard and poor. They were the refs who's calls is mean decided he didn't trust. And and what pressures would there have been on a Moody's or standard and poor to to rate rate bonds AAA when maybe they weren't going to be AAA. The the pressure was simply can Nommik in the sense that you were paid multiples more for rating that kind of stuff. So the more of the stuff that you that you would do the more money it'd make and if you didn't do it. The fact if you did the guy who said, you know, what I don't like this one I'm not going to rate it s and p would do it. The whole point of Moody's SNP was to be independent referees to judge the value of the stuff that the Wall Street banks created they were supposed to says the loans that inside the bonds. And then give those bonds a grade. Before the financial crisis is been went to SNP to ask one of its executives. What records she got from the banks? What we said to her was went went in the process of creating securitisations. Don't you get the low tapes? So that when you're doing the ratings you have a better idea of what's in there. And she said we don't have access to that. And I said, what do you mean, you don't have access to that? She says will the investment banks will give it to us. I laugh I said what he mean, they won't give it to you. You're the ratings agencies. They have to give you what you want. And she basically mumbled that if they had asked for they wouldn't get it. And then they would just walk across the street go to Moody's. So this surprised you I was shocked because it would have basically meant the ratings agencies didn't have any better data than I did. And that stunned me. Back in two thousand and eight. When Wall Street was collapsing, and Steve is men was making a fortune. The problem was clear. The ratings agencies have been bought and paid for by the game's most powerful players the rest lack of independence at fueled a world historic financial crisis. If someone had told you in early two thousand nine that the ratings agencies would be in the end unscathed by all this that they there'd be no reform of the structure of the raise agencies, and we'd be sitting here ten years later, and they'd be still being paid by the banks to to rate the bonds. Would you be surprised? I'd be stunned stunned because what's interesting is that there have been massive changes that have taken place with respect to the banks. I mean, truly massive. So then you have this other piece the referees of the securities that we're the pro at the heart of the problem. Correct. And the referees haven't been reformed, and why do you imagine that is? Is no it's one of life's great mysteries. One of life's great mysteries. Some things were reformed after the crisis to fix Wall Street, but not the refs. Why would this be? Why would a system prefer a bad ref to a good one? Why would it want a Thana cater the doesn't authenticate? Is McCann explain it? But your Jack off can. Let's take a. Somebody who is a very hard time getting a mortgage. This person is very risky, but that person's willing to pay a higher rate of interest on that mortgage. So I that bad mortgage. I don't mind the fact that the ratings agency it allows me to by the that band mortgage because then when there's my regulators or my board of directors, or my stockholders, whatever they can't blame me for the fact that I bought that bad mortars. Oh, this thing. And then he's making big profits. They can't play me that's the role for the phony ref. He absolves everyone at the table of responsibility. The guy with bad credit gets alone. The Bank buys alone gets a high interest rate. The ratings agency blesses the deal. Everyone seems to win. Here's the funny thing about referees. Just now the only place in the economy where they seem secure is where. Where they've been compromised because once they've been compromised their short of at least one truly enthusiastic source of support the people who control them think of it as a rule of thumb find a happy referee, and you found a problem. So we have a new rule where the referees are happy and prosperous, the probably helping to make life less fair. But let's flip it around. Let's ask a question. What's truly agreed just example of unfairness in American life? And are there any referees present at that scene and for years and years and years fortune magazine would have a cover story every year saying who gets paid how much ferry neutral, and then all of a sudden around nineteen ninety they cover story saying it's out of control. That's no minnow who helped found something called I s I s stands for institutional shareholder services. It was supposed to be a neutral referee to prevent the people who ran America's biggest corporations from abusing their power or paying themselves too much. So when you've got basically, the capitalist favorite magazine telling you, it's out of control it's out of control, and that was a fraction of what it is today. Way back in nineteen eighty the typical corporate CEO was paid roughly fifteen times what his average employee made. Now, he's paid roughly four hundred times with the average worker gets paid CEOs looked around and they saw investment bankers making tons of money. And they would say these guys worked for me. I'm a captain of industry. I am moving mountains. I should be making as much as they are. And so they started baking just tons and tons of money, and it just kept escalating escalating and escalating and these pay plans were incredibly complicated. So I was put in a position of kind of refereeing. CEO pay. It didn't have any real authority. Is there anybody in the CEO pay world whose job it is to declare pay packages fair for the company well in theory. Yeah. I'm Jan Cors. I am a senior managing director and region. President for Pearl Meyer. Which is a compensation consulting firm. We get hired by companies to advise them on their executive pay programs their border director pay and all of the corporate governance things. Go along with that. Jen cores is an example of a referee that simply didn't exist before CEO pay went nuts. The CEO pay consultant. There's a part of the whole question that I just don't get in the part of it is the idea that you need that extra night your ten million dollars. Yeah. Those extra nine million dollars of carrot. Yeah. For making good decisions inning. Smart. Trying hard are necessary to get a guy who's already am bishops in Taipei versus ROY to try hard. Make good decisions. Smart. Nobody's offering me ten million dollars to make a good decision about you know, what book I write Nesher? Nobody's offering most of the people in the company they're just assuming that that everybody's gonna try their hardest and make good decisions. This. This particular class of human being needs this giant reward in order to be smart is actually quite damning about that class of human being. So she was brave to talk to me. I don't wanna misrepresentative us. But I thought that maybe she might talk about Pearl Meyer as an authenticated or of CEO, pay packages. I mean in theory, the place exists to judge whether the CEO's pay is a good deal for the company, instead, she wound up defending how much see ios get paid. Why baseball players need that much money? Just because they happen to be good. Don't they love baseball, wouldn't they they basically less money. They do they they do and they they do play baseball for less money. So they do try hard for less money. So the answer is they don't need that much money. That much. Yeah. That's true. But that you don't get better performance out of them because of the money. No one argues, the baseball players have better the more you pay them. In fact, the argument you get in professional sports, if you pay a lot of money, they'll get lazy because they don't need the money the money anymore. So exactly. So in fact, it the best time to have baseball player is when you're not paying them anything, and you have the first six years of his career, and he's got a minimum salary and he's trying to prove he's trying to prove something. So why isn't the same true of the CEO where let's keep him on a starvation diet until he proves something. I was clearly making her a little uneasy. She didn't have a lot of power here. She was brought in by companies mainly to help their CEO's pay packages off the front page of the Wall Street Journal. And I guess the argument is is that by the time they get to be the CEO. They're like the Aaron Rodgers, right? They have they've already been through their trial. They've already done they're proving and having gotten to that CEO level. This is now where they get their. Reward. They're so valuable that you need to pay them this or in order to get them to do the job. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Yes. And no there's not a lot of people that can hit hundred mile an hour fastballs. If you can do it you can make a lot of money. There's not a lot of people that can run ten billion dollar companies. Maybe that's true. I don't really know. There seemed to be a lot of people running big companies just fine. And a lot of others who don't seem all that different from them who'd be perfectly happy to do it too. I mean, how fragile must have company be so desperately need this one incredibly special person to run it. But you know, what's even harder to find the incredibly special person who can run a large company a person who's willing to referee them straight up. If you have any questions or comments regarding any of the for management proposal, just go to the standing microphone. Mike nato? Mike mayo is spent the last thirty years analyzing American banks. He tells shareholders whether they should buy or sell their shares. He sees it as his job to say about banks that one really is a lemon back before the financial crisis. Mayo saw that a lot of banks were making bad loans, and he called him out publicly a long list. What is the pass the board doing homework to ensure that group had the best most effective chairman? That is a very good question. That's mail a Mike in the great hall of the congress plaza hotel. Chicago is nothing really great about the great hall of the congress plaza hotel. It's not even a hall. The hotel website says that it's perfect for a reception of twelve hundred but really it's more like a place to throw a party to which you hope. No one will come. I mean, I've seen I've seen the slutty of companies where the CEO in the German on this day in June two thousand eighteen the great hall holds only a few dozen people mainly retirees and no Wall Street analysts except Mike mayo. Mayo buys a single share of stock and each Wall Street Bank. So that he has the right to come to meetings. Like this and grill the board of directors who sit on the stage among the largest US banks city had worst and five returns among its peers in two thousand seventeen yet hitting the CEO paid by forty eight percent and the grade imply that top management got almost rate. So why the disconnect your well? I think you know, companies have different kinds of to have different different jobs to would you say the city group CEO's over your during your tenure of watching them. Have been better at running the Bank or at getting themselves paid while city. What an example, I mean, this is an extreme example of CEO pay the Bank industry or corporate America, generally, CitiGroup. CEO's of the last two decades have gotten paid about more than any other banks eat ios at the same time. They've had the absolute worst stock price performance over that period. When was the first time you raise you you voiced any kind of complaint with what ac- was paid. Nineteen ninety four I raised a concern about the CEO of KeyCorp saying that the CEO's getting paid too much money in conjunction with a merger that they were doing and Mike concern was they did not disclose the information away that people could readily see it. So when you said that how how do they take it? They cut off all business with the firm that was working with. So when's the next time? You did such a thing. Well, then the late nineteen ninety s I wrote about compensation in the banking industry and some executives were paid too much and some CEO's repaid too much. And I thought that was all fine until I got fired the Wall Street analyst who does his job and speaks up about CEO pay is the analyst who keeps losing his job. It doesn't make any sense until you realize that the point of this ref is not to be independent, you're on your seventh. Brokerage firm my seventh. Brokerage firm, not attitude. Do young people ever come to you and say, Mike, how do I be like you? And and keep my job every now, and then but not too often. I think if I were to go about my career the way I did starting thirty years ago. Then I think I'd have a hard time keeping a job. Let's recap step one. A market in need of Aref Justice revive because the seller might know something the buyer does not the market for a used car, subprime mortgage and old master painting or for that matter a CEO. Step to the seller in one way or another captures the raff step three. The compromise ref becomes a stable raff a happy ref. He's an integral part of the market and has enough powerful people on his side that he makes a good living. He absolves both buyer and seller of blame. Now we arrive at step four when you hear the first creeks and groans of system about to crash under the weight of its own stupidity. So who is Bernardinos Louis? Ni Bernandino Leany had worked primarily north Italy and had returned to Milan in fifteen eight to set up studio practice and paint in the number of churches, thereafter, mainly doing frescoes. Matthew Landry's is a Leonardo scholar at Oxford University that period when he returns to Milan, he he has the opportunity to Maitland auto Vinci and Lantos studio through associates that that Leonardo had their funny thing happened after the rest pronounce the Salvator Mundi, Leonardo it went up on the wall of the National Gallery in London in two thousand eleven and some other refs people just as qualified as the ones who proclaim the painting Leonardo got to look at it for the first time Landrace was among the experts who I saw the Salvator Mundi while it was surrounded by gawking tourists when it was a fit I comply. But when he looked at his I thought wasn't of Leonardo it was Bernardino looney Landry suspected Bernardino Lueneburg painted, most of the Salvador Mundi, perhaps supervised by Leonardo though widely Narda would have done this without leaving any record of it is unclear but just because Matthew Landers thought it doesn't mean he's happy to say it into a microphone it. You think there's a chance entirely by Louis and Leonardo had nothing to do with Ono. No, I would not want to say that. Of course, there's a chance visit chance could be by all sorts of other people. There's no hard evidence that it was even painted in the sixteenth century. But you can see why Landrace would no longer wanna say it. There is a lot of pressure on art historians to be careful about commenting on paintings because people will then skew that information or change that information into discussions of value. Art markets not sort of. There's a lot of pressure on art historians there is, but it's all in one direction. It's not a pressure to say, no, it's not a Leonardo. It's a pressure to say, yes. Yes. It is Leonardo. And once someone said it the pressure only mounts to the point where it might affect even the most successful graduate of the isidor Neumann school in New Orleans, Louisiana. When I got invited by the auction house to be on the panels and be part of the special shows. I kept saying, you know on balance. Here's what I think. But I wasn't going to be a flame thrower at that point. I wasn't going to say, oh, I think this whole thing could be a total fraud. You get wrapped up in the excitement of it. Now. Fortunately, what I wrote in the book, I wrote well before this excitement. So I stand by everyone of those words, but I suspect on a panel. I got a little bit more enthusiastic simply because you know, you wanna be part of the party at three hundred and seventy million dollars. Four hundred. The last one you will ever be able to buy the last one in private hands four hundred minutes the pits, and you knew a Saudi prince would end up buying and the piece is so. The Saudi prince made a gift of newly Nardo to the new museum in Abu Dhabi that has arranged to call itself. The loof. Adapted. Liuw Abu Dhabi enquiring. All of this was all over the news. And then the world moved on except for one piece of it. The Salvador Mundi. Yes. I wanted to find out if you know win Salva tour Monday Leonardo painting will be on display. Do not have any information yet them. So you don't know why unveiling was postponed or where where it is. Now. No, one seems to know. I don't know. I mean, these rumors that the pictures gone missing. And they're these newspaper reports that the original Leuven Paris has has some small problems with the idea of hanging on the wall of it. Satellite museum, at least described as Leonardo. It was supposed to phone previously. But no, we do not have any Bidian. Do you know when you might have an update, I think whatever happens, I'm going to doubt it. I'm Michael Lewis. Thanks for listening to against the rules against the rules is brought to you by Pushkin industries. The show is produced by Audrey Dilling and Catherine Jared, oh with research assistance from Zoe Oliver, gray and Beth Johnson. Our editor is Julia Barton meal. O Lebel is our executive producer. Our theme was composed by Nick Patel with additional scoring by Seth Samuel mastering by Jason Gambro. I show was recorded by Tofa Ruth and Northgate studios in Berkeley special. Thanks to our founders Jacob Weisberg, and Malcolm plaid wool. Think much. The different. VM?

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