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The Super-Leonardo, chapter 2


The mystery lasted less than expected: the name of the purchaser of the Salvator Mundi finally came out.


Badger bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, in short “a sheikh” of a collateral-cadet-minor branch that basically reconnects to the most controversial character in the Arab world at this time: Mohammed bin Salman, the famous heir to the Saudi throne.


The news is explosive, because the painting will become part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum as a gift from the buyer.


A museum that, until now, didn’t proceed in direct acquisitions neither of sacred art nor of old masters’ paintings , traditionally very tied to the West and its value system.


But things, you know, have to change sooner or later. And so, between a palace plot, a crackdown and an enlightened authoritarianism, MBS (as the crown prince is called) marks – with an artwork – a momentous change in the Arab way of conceiving luxury, power, culture and civilization.


The work, which obviously does not have to be perceived anymore as problematic in relation to the subject, is a moral slap to the traditionalist Arab gerontocracy which is an institutional cancer worthy of the worst “big-chair-ism” of the Italian politics (and of which our little Aladin is making a clean sweep without too many qualms).


But this is indeed a beautiful lesson also for the irreducible gerontocracy of the artistic world of our home.


In fact, while the market of old masters seems to be literally assaulted by a post-Leonardo euphoria (just check the results of Christie’s and Sotheby’s pre-Christmas rounds) and sales of modern and contemporary literally sail in a sea of blood; it is evident that a new generation of international collectors is carrying out a generational conflict focused on the concept of “old” and “new”, in a totally different way from the generation that preceded it.

Marina Abramovic and one of her typical follower



Beauty VS Speculation



Fluidity VS Immobilism



And since the world is less and less interested in words and increasingly influenced by images, it is clear that Leonardo does win, as Bruegel, Botticelli, Caravaggio do, for a generation that, to “non-words” words of “non-places” places of “non-art” art of the many “non-curators” contemporary curators (and who knows if they would like to be paid with “non-money” money?) prefers Instagram, the wonderful bulldozer that is irreversibly asphalting and destroying a system, which creates a direct relationship between art and user (just like the Internet in general, practically for any field of life), mixing the meanings, the visual associations and the aims of the art itself.




And is it bad, like someone thinks, that this new type of interest is “without filters”? That it does not take into account pictorial schools, historical data, philological contextualization, museology and historicist semantics?
No. On the other hand, the motto of the Louvre Abu Dhabi sums it up well: “See humanity in a new light”. A new world with new looks, where there is no longer ancient or modern, but only what is truly eternal, capable of communicating something to the Man as such.
All the rest, yes, is the proverbial boredom (when not a real disgust), as the winner film of the last Cannes Film Festival has masterfully summarized (and that has been removed as a trauma by all fans of contemporary art). “The Square”, relentless fresco over the sense of desolation and emptiness with which a certain type of art has caused the intestinal obstruction that our culture is currently living.
But still a little bit of patience. And you will see that the laxative will begin to take effect.

Wake up, honey

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TEFAF - Maastricht 2022, 24.06.2022 | 30.06.2022

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