A film by Antoine Vitkine

2021 / documentary / 95’ / Color / status : completed / General Audience / long feature-film / All Rights / International collections

A modern tale of globalization, THE SAVIOR FOR SALE delves into the unknown secrets of the art world and explores the influence that one painting can exert on personal and geopolitical interests, weaving links between the auction houses of New York, a revered da Vinci expert, an opportunistic Swiss go-between, a Russian oligarch, the Louvre in Paris and an Arabian prince. An astonishing journey on the hidden trails of money, power and deception behind this questionable masterpiece.


After mysteriously reappearing, the painting titled Salvator Mundi (The Savior of the World) was sold at Christie’s for a record 450 million dollars in 2017. Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci after its discovery, what became the most expensive piece of art ever has unleashed passions while revealing the excesses of our time. But is it really the work of the Italian genius, or one of the greatest scams in the history of art?

Production: Zadig Productions


“A Saudi prince, his yacht and the half a billion-dollar painting. Hidden from the public, Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi is causing an ugly battle in the art world… The disclosure of the Salvator Mundi’s itinerary is only one of a cascade of new revelations about the painting provoked by a bold new documentary… ”

The Times

“The Savior for Sale sometimes feels like a thriller rather than a documentary. Vitkine has persuaded an impressive number of people to talk to him on camera and what they have to say is riveting.”

The Economist

“The controversy around the Salvator Mundi painting has made headlines again with this new documentary claiming that the Louvre concluded that Leonardo had “merely contributed” to the painting.”

The New York Times

“No Hollywood director could have chosen such characters better. A masterpiece that is entertaining, elegant, revealing.”

Der Spiegel

“Including many revelations, The Savior for Sale crosses geopolitics, the world of art and money, lots of money.”

La Reppublica

“The mystery of why the Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive painting, didn’t appear at the blockbuster 2019 Leonardo da Vinci show at the Louvre in Paris is unraveled.”


“Speculations have been revived in recent days: is the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting in the world, by Leonardo da Vinci or not? The new documentary claims it has minimal input from the master himself.”

Le Monde

“Leonardo barely touched most expensive painting (…), according to experts at the Louvre cited in the new documentary.”

The Times

“The documentary reveals that the Louvre confirmed the most expensive painting in the world comes from Leonardo Da Vinci's workshop and not the master's himself. The Elysee rejected the pressure from Saudi Arabia to have its origin "whitened" by showing it in an exhibition next to the 'Mona Lisa'.”

El Pais



“New film lifts lid on Louvre row over famous $450 million painting.”

The Evening Standard