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Friday, 17 November 2017


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David, the art world has been on pins and needles for quite a while about dependable authenticaters no matter how well spoken! Seems there are some first rate forgers out there.

How much would I give for it?

How big is it? I need something to cover a damp patch on the wall.

It’s right to be ambivalent about such things. But I can just sort of understand it.

The object itself conveys no secret message nor confers exclusive wisdom or authority to its possessor, despite the half billion-dollar (and that’s just for starters; you’ve then got to maintain and secure it) price tag. No particular individual, least of all its owner, is actually going to save the world. Obviously, Leonardo, prized even in his lifetime for his wonderful talent as he rightly was, could never have asked for anything vaguely like the equivalent in Renaissance wealth in exchange without inviting ridicule or worse. If it had an avowedly and especially remarkable ‘spiritual’ content, that’s long lost to us. But it’s an important, interesting and irreplaceable cultural ‘relic’ (and we have always, always valued and still do so love 'relics') of a relatively ancient but still hugely significant and formative time.

Technically, one might say it’s great for its era and limited available resource, but objectively, if technical were everything, any dismally cynical and instantly forgettable CGI blockbuster represents way more sophistication and (just in some ways, I appreciate) probably relevant collective human genius.

If you have a disposable billion or several, and some people do fortunately (in all senses) have it, it can be viewed as a pretty decent investment; they’re not making ‘Leonardos’ any more is rather sound multi-generational logic. Your heirs can always hopefully flip it for inflation-adjusted more, to yet more predictable but manageable indignation. Plus, how on earth are you supposed to get excited by silly ephemeral trivia like Ferraris or mansions, which don’t carry the same kudos or notoriety? Or attract nearly so many protective (albeit expensive, but you can afford it and are worth it) layers of status in a nasty and jealous world?

In some sense you are saying, quite possibly rightly, to the rest of the world, in a rather nice, expensive and socially sanctioned way, fuck you. Look on my works, ye mighty... (okay, his if you want to get all pedantic about it, but they're mine now) etc.

I do remember many years ago reading National Geographic in a dentist’s waiting room (only place I ever tend to read it, with the oddly fanatical concentration that you tend to experience in such places – wait, I haven’t finished yet!) about a tribe in New Guinea. If you contrived somehow to have the biggest penis gourd, you were basically top of the tree. Never mind the content, the show is the thing. Not much changes, I thought as they led me away…

So, for many complex reasons, I’d say it’s not nearly as simple a question as it might appear. At the very least it is a multi-layered ‘onion’ of a question. Like all the best ones!

I suppose that practically it boils down to my dear old second favourite law (the first must always be its much bigger but related cousin, Gravity) of the locally knowable universe: Supply and Demand.

Re-reading the bit I just posted above, scanning for the seemingly inevitable but still bloody annoying typo, it seems to me I missed an, or possibly the, most important point. Namely:

I think we are all enormously fortunate to inhabit a milieu which at the moment values this material, however extravagantly. It's not always that way. Quite typically we fail to appreciate this, but prefer to cavil. Just wait until the barbarians break through the gates, as they actually do from to time. Syria might be a topical example, but only one of many. Mind you, I'm still not over that blasted library in Alexandria burning down.

Look on my works, ye mighty Ozymandias by Shelley.

Good comment Buster.

Must have been a shortage of barbers. The lad needs a haircut.

Funny to think that only 70 or so paintings like that would be needed to pay the £32bn exit bill, which Blighty, at long last, has finally calculated ...

Announcement soon, I suspect ...

Perhaps we could touch up the hand gesture slightly before handing this one over to Brussels?


Your best suggestion yet SoD! Perhaps the Queen could lead off with half a dozen from her collection.

Now this truly is a work of art ...


SoD, I would call that "creative flying".

Looks similar to Hoss Cartwrights' hat.

Uppers, I had to look him up on Wiki. Always an education this site!

I too find this site educational.

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