The Lost Leonardo Review (2021)

IMDb Summary - The mystery surrounding the Salvator Mundi, the first painting by Leonardo da Vinci to be discovered for more than a century, which has now seemingly gone missing.
JulieGSeptember 17, 202190/1005 min
Year of Release
Sony Pictures
1 hr 36 mins
Overall Score
Rating Summary

As a journalist, let me share something with you – it isn’t easy to sit on a documentary review for months about a film as interesting as this one. I don’t at all recommend it. Now that it has been officially released in New Zealand, we can finally review it for Now Showing NZ.

So for those of you unsure of what The Lost Leonardo is, it’s a documentary about the art world obsession with the amazing Leonardo da Vinci and one painting of his in particular – The Salvator Mundi. The Salvator Mundi is considered the very first painting Leonardo da Vinci painted. This is why it is one of the most sought after paintings in the world. If you could imagine anyone involved in the art world coming across something as rare as this, it would be a life-changing experience. This documentary follows the Salvator Mundi from its first discovery right through to its sale. And it is nothing short of incredible.

Without having any knowledge about art, paintings or how one would investigate a rare painting being discovered, we both found this documentary to be insightful as well as thrilling. As the audience, you will be transported right into the heart of the matter at hand; is this painting authentic and was it actually painted by Leonardo da Vinci? Those questions are not clearly answered. There are way too many art specialists that have different points of view on this topic. Some say it is the authentic work of Leonardo da Vinci (based on studies and examinations of the painting). Others claim it is the work of one of Leonardo’s students who studied his paintings and emulated his style into their own painting. The answers are not conclusive. This allows the audience to make up their own minds based on the evidence revealed.

The idea that something this rare could have been hidden all of these years and stumbled upon randomly one day is mind-blowing. This documentary covers everything in detail, including the first discovery of the painting and input from various specialists and historians, including art “picker” Alexander Parish. The painting gathered so much controversy because of its final sale of 450 million USD at Christie’s – a record amount for an art piece.

If you’re not an art enthusiast, I still recommend this documentary because it is such a fascinating story. And not just about the art itself but also about how it was discovered and made its journey all the way to Christie’s. Whether or not the art belongs to Leonardo da Vinci is scrutinised by art historians and specialists throughout the world. But it still leaves room for you to decide for yourself who is right and who is just guessing. In the end, the painting itself will always have the final word and the Salvator Mundi isn’t giving anything away.


Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on

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