Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Inspires Edmonton Artist

One of Peter Harasymiw’s portraits of members of the audience as they reflected on the master work

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Inspired by a YouTube video on the record $450 million sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World), Edmonton artist Peter Harasymiw decided to make his own portraits of the audience as they reflected on the master work.

The result was the exhibition “Reflections”, which ran from March 9 to March 23 at Dandi-Lines Art Gallery.

The show featured 27 portraits as well as a mural of the Salvator Mundi that incorporated the YouTube video projected onto the crystal sphere that Christ was holding accompanied by Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight playing in the background.

On November 15, 2017 the painting Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci was sold at auction by Christie’s of New York for to Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Farhan on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism, for $450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold.

Prior to the auction it was displayed to the public. Christie’s posted a video titled, “The Last da Vinci: The World is Watching” on YouTube. It captured the emotions that the painting evoked in its viewers. Peter never saw the da Vinci himself but as he watched the video he was inspired to make his own portraits of the audience as they reflected on the master work.

“Peter Harasymiw has a unique gift for painting faces which convey the feelings and emotions of his subjects. His version of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvatore Mundi” rivals the original. The unique exhibit of Peter’s paintings, inspired by observing the faces of people viewing “Salvator Mundi”, is truly one that inspires awe on how a contemporary artist can delve into the past to create new masterpieces,” said Ihor Broda, one of the many people who viewed this exhibit.

Some other comments from the installation’s viewers: “a spiritual awakening”; “deeply humanistic depictions of individuals viewing da Vinci’s Christ”; “clever concept, excellent execution”; “experiential!”; “very moving.” The show also featured a collection of his previous works.

Peter Harasymiw was born in Calgary but has spent most of his life living in Edmonton where he attended the Ukrainian-English bilingual program.

His aptitude for art was recognized early by an award while he was still in elementary school.

A scholarship recipient, he received a BFA degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary majoring in painting in 2004. He has chosen a different career path other than art but continued painting throughout his life.