VIDEO: FIVE hundred years on from the death of Leonardo Da Vinci, Warrington artist Lee Trantum has unveiled his own version of a missing masterpiece which sold for $400m just two years ago.
Lee, who works as a process operator at Crosfields as his “day job,” has been working on his version of Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” since October last year and although still unfinished, he gave warrington-worldwide an exclusive look at his work of art to coincide with 500th anniversary of the famous Italian artist’s death (May 2nd 1519).
Now aged 46, Lee has always had a natural ability to draw and through the years he has studied all mediums pencil, watercolour, acrylics and oils.
In the early 90s he completed 2 BTEC courses at North Cheshire College achieving Distinctions, but made the decision not to progress to university.
Lee said: “Throughout the years I’ve always held down full time jobs but continued to pursue my passion for art.
“My artistic hero has always been Leonardo Da Vinci and my goal was to produce a renaissance piece.
“In 2017 the painting “Salvator Mundi,” attributed as the lost Da Vinci, sold for a record fee, $400m at Christie’s New York.
“The buyer is a mystery, but is rumoured to be a Saudi Prince. This would be the only Da Vinci in private hands,” said Lee who does his artwork in his Warrington apartment.
Lee added: “Reports claim it was bought to be the “Mona Lisa” of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the painting has not been seen since the auction. Rumour has it the painting may be damaged or there could be issues with the paintings authenticity.
“When I researched the painting I discovered that it had been heavily over painted in its past. The restoration took six years.
“When the painting was stripped back to the original paint of the early 16th century the painting, although heavily damaged, looked beautiful. In particular, the blessing hand and the face.
“The restoration work on the original, in my opinion, has taken all the quality away from the face.
“My painting is not a copy but a version, I wanted to try and capture some of the quality, pre restoration.
Lee now hopes his work can go on display and turn his hobby into a career one day.