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The Last Leonardo


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About the Author

Ben Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, television presenter, author and art critic, who has specialized in the art world, art market and history of art for twenty years. He has written about art for Prospect Magazine, the Evening Standard, the Observer and The Times to Liberation and Die Welt. Lewis has contributed to documentary films such as The Great Contemporary Art Bubble, A Bankers Guide to Art and my television series Art Safari. He is the author of Hammer and Tickle.


'The story of the world's most expensive painting is narrated with great gusto and formidably researched detail.' Charles Nicholl, Guardian

'Forensically detailed and gripping investigation into the history, discovery and sales of the painting ... Through his fascinating and persuasive account, Lewis remains balanced; the Salvator Mundi might be exactly what its supporters claim it to be, even though it sits in "a pool of theories, surrounded by a tangle of conjecture, suspended from a geometry of clues".' Sunday Times

'A page-turning tale about the most expensive painting of all time. It's a story populated by characters straight out of a thriller: the soft-spoken but ambitious art dealer, the Russian oligarch in the middle of a messy divorce, the shadowy Swiss storage king who sidelines as a dealer, the Saudi prince eager to polish his reputation with a cleansing spritz of high art. Mr. Lewis interweaves the many threads of an intricate tale into the story of the dramatic restoration, sale and resale of the Salvator Mundi.' Wall Street Journal

'As Lewis chronicles the quest to attribute the painting to da Vinci, he uncovers an astoundingly dysfunctional world of museums, galleries, auction houses, collectors - a Russian oligarch and a Saudi prince among them ... Art, greed, and stealth make for a lively tale of intrigue.' Kirkus

'Lewis' portrait of the artist-engineer ... as a "dreamer, a doodler, and a dawdler," is refreshingly compelling ... Lively and ultimately sinister sketches from over the centuries amount to the Salvator Mundi's provenance ... A deliciously detailed, satisfying book, that is simultaneously a call for change.' Irish Times

Praise for 'Hammer and Tickle':

'Ben Lewis's book celebrates the brilliance with which jokes exposed the gulf between the Soviet ideal and its brutal reality' Sunday Telegraph

'There is a laugh on every page' John Suchet, Sunday Express

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