Wolfgang Beltracchi: The Return of Salvator Mundi | Author: Alberto Venzago

In recent years, painter and legendary art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi has opened a new chapter of his career. The core of his latest work is an extensive series of paintings, titled The Greats, that have been put on sale as digital artworks using NFT technology. Its starting point was the Salvator Mundi, a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and sold in 2017 in an auction at Christie's in New York for $450m to an unknown buyer. Beltracchi studied the picture meticulously and created several hundred versions of the motif in a variety of styles, ranging from high renaissance to pop art, or depicting Jesus in the personification of Mick Jagger or Mao Zedong. The result is a fascinating game of deception with the disputed painting and its symbolism. 

This large-format book combines photographic insights into Beltracchi's everyday life in the studio by renowned Swiss photographer Alberto Venzago with a documentation of The Greats collection. Texts are contributed by Stanford University professor emeritus Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, German philosophers Peter Sloterdijk and Markus Gabriel, German journalist Ulrike Posche, German finance executive Leonhard Fischer, Swiss-based cryptocurrency and NFT expert Hansen Wang, Swiss art dealer Guido Persterer, and Alberto Venzago. A conversation between Beltracchi and Swiss writer and philosopher René Scheu rounds out this volume that describes and interprets the phenomenon of this extraordinary artist from a range of perspectives.

32.5 x 24 cm
212 pages