Asked whether he would invest in the painting if he had $100m, Isaacson said: “The preponderance of the experts is that it is authentic, and so I would – but that doesn’t mean that I’d be absolutely sure.” from the Guardian.
Is it or isn’t it? At a converted warehouse in Dogpatch people are lined up around the building waiting to get a gander at a Leonardo, expecting, I suppose, to get some fairy dust enhancement of their lives by proximity to the greatest genius of all time. I’m in line, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping. I’m also curious, what does the Savior of the World look like? Would he appear up to the task?
The forty-five minute wait is made to seem short by the unexpected company of a journalist from the San Francisco Weekly. Jonathan Curiel wants to know if I intend to put in a bid on the painting, whether I have 100 million. Yes, I say, in my pocket right now. Pulling out his recording device, he asks what brought me to this place. I babble, not saying a word about fairy dust. Have I seen a da Vinci before? The Mona Lisa, on a flyby in the Louvre. There she was and there was the fanbase, snapping like a pond filled with carp (I’m making this up.) Whatever. Leonardo is a superstar.
The line is slow. Our conversation veers. Morocco. The architecture of synagogues. Death cafes. How Final Exit Network will come to your house and help you make yours. Gas immediate. They give practical support, free of charge.
Tempus fugit, the line moves.
A woman comes out, the white frame of her glasses two hearts. She is doing crowd fluffing. “I asked people coming out if the waiting in line was worth it, and they said,” her voice rising to be heard, “it’s worth it. They all said it’s worth it.”
But is it authentic, this experience? Would I invest in it?
Jonathan saw the painting yesterday. Today he wants to interview one of the security guards, find out what they see. Later, inside, I see him doing that. It appears the guard is not voluble. The interview is short. The crowd politely presses forward against the flimsy protective barriers. The closer you get, the more fairy dust.
There is a Pollock, a Thiebaud, a Diebenkorn ignored on adjacent walls. Chopped liver.
I don’t get closer than a few ranges of headgear and a picket fence of snaps. I take few photos myself, not that I know how to get them off my phone into this warble so you don’t have to imagine what I am talking about. Leonardo I ain’t.
Salvator Mundi. Where have I seen that smile? But the…hair. Put in the shade by the rippling black cascade of one of the female security guards. Like so many kids these days, genderqueer. Not the security guard, I mean Salvator.
What is it with the square neckline of the shift or whatever he’s wearing? That’s what I want to know although most scholars are more concerned about why the reflections in the crystal globe he’s holding are not upside down and curbed, as Leonardo,who knew everything, knew they should be. Evidence it can’t be a Leonardo.
Hence the fairy dust is ersatz.
But consider, wisenheimer, Leonardo did this on purpose because he didn’t want to show off how clever he was and take the focus off where it ought to be, on the Savior of the World. A beautiful man, our Leonardo.