13 Strangest Unsolved Mysteries of the Art World

Scratch the surface (literally, in the case of at least one Picasso painting) and you'll see the art world is teeming with mystery, scandal, and intrigue.

Did Leonardo da Vinci really paint Salvator Mundi?

Auction Preview of Leonardo da Vinci Painting Salvator Mundi, New York, USA - 15 Nov 2017Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The painting, Salvator Mundi, sold at Christie's in 2017 for an eye-popping $450 million, in large part because it was attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. But some art experts, including Oxford art historian Matthew Landrus, believe that only 20 percent of the painting was completed by Leonardo himself. Citing artistic details and painting techniques evident in the brushwork, Landrus suspects the rest of the painting was done by Leonardo's assistant, Bernardino Luini. Bernardino's work has never fetched more than $654,545. Adding fuel to the fire, it's thought the da Vinci completed a mere 15 paintings in his lifetime.

Are these watercolors really by Adolph Hitler?

Auction of paintings of Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg, Germany - 08 Apr 2018Friedrich Jurgen/Action Press/Friedrich Jurgen/Action Press/Shutterstock

Even though Adolph Hitler was rejected from art school, he did quite a bit of painting in his youth. And there are people in the world who'd pay good money (anywhere from $150 to $51,000) to acquire the artistic efforts of der F├╝hrer, art being subjective after all. But last month, German prosecutors confiscated 63 paintings signed "A. Hitler" on suspicion of forgery. The jury is out (figuratively) on their authenticity, and verification is apparently extremely challenging.

The scandalous death of Joseph Boehm

Historical Collection 14 Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890) - British Sculptor Astride A Chair with His Head in His Hands 1889Historia/Shutterstock

Sir Joseph Boehm was a prolific Victorian-age sculptor credited with, among other things, creating the British Victoria-head coin. In 1890, at the age of 56, Boehm died suddenly of a stroke in his studio, but he wasn't alone when he died. He was with Queen Victoria's sixth daughter, Princess Louise, a sculptor herself. Many believe his death occurred in the midst of a sexual encounter with Louise. Historians, including Lucinda Hawksley, author of Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise, believe Louise and Joseph had been engaged in a longtime affair.

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