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The famed work shows Jesus Christ reaching out to the viewer with a cross-type gesture with one hand and holding a transparent orb in the other hand. The Salvator Mundi sold for a record-figure of $450million (£343million) at Christie’s Auction House in New York, three years ago. After the long-lost painting was unveiled at London’s National Gallery in 2011, some questioned its authenticity. Some believed the artwork could have been created by da Vinci’s students and noted the scientific mistake on the glass orb – which should have distorted Christ’s clothing. But scientist Pascal Cotte believes he could solve the mysteries of the Salvator Mundi through his pioneering techniques.
Salvator Mundi, which translates as Saviour of the World, was painted around 1500 and was previously believed to have been one of da Vinci’s lost works – fewer than 20 are known to exist today.
After it was purchased for a record-sum, allegedly by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, the piece disappeared.
Speculation still shrouds the piece but Mr Cotte believes he could answer questions of its authenticity and creation once and for all.
Using his Layer Amplification Method (LAM) technique, which analyses the way light interacts with paint, he believes he could unearth new details beneath its brushstrokes.
Previously, he discovered a hidden hairpin within the skyline of the Mona Lisa and spolvero marks, which allow painters to transfer a small work to a larger canvas.
He told Express.co.uk: “If the owner of the Salvator Mundi asks me to use my LAM technique, I will of course be happy to do the work.
“If there is spolvero, I am almost certain to see it. The presence of spolvero is an important element of attribution for Art Historians, if not essential in this case.”
Mr Cotte also discovered the marks, typically made with charcoal dust after small holes had been pressed into the wooden canvas – to serve as a guide for a painter – in multiple da Vinci works.
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Through Lumiere Technology, he takes extremely high-resolution photographs of each section of an artwork and then analyses each layer of paint through the way light penetrates it.
The process, which was “derived from methods developed for satellite imagery” allows him to see multiple layers of a painting and artwork often hidden below the surface.
Mr Cotte told Express.co.uk that he is the “only one able to make scientific comparisons” between the Salvator Mundi and other works.
This is because he has analysed the Mona Lisa, The Lady with an Ermine and La Belle Ferronnière, also known as Portrait of an unknown woman.
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He said: “As I have demonstrated with the LAM technique the spectrometry tells us more things than just the colour’s appearance.”
Mr Cotte claimed that his discovery of spolvero “changed the story of the Mona Lisa” because it revealed a previous work beneath it, which da Vinci later painted over.
Art historians interpreted his findings of the Mona Lisa hairpin as belonging to a painting of the Virgin Mary or another goddess-type figure due to the accessory not fitting the time period.
This led him to conclude to Express.co.uk that beneath the Mona Lisa was “an abandoned portrait” and he hoped similar discoveries could be made with the Salvator Mundi.
For more information of Mr Cotte’s work visit here.
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