What started as a contemporary conceptual art project, developed into a cottage industry of pasta sauces, coffee, wine, jewelry, fashion, collectibles and....Sales!
Brooklyn, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/23/2021 --When the painting announced as a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci, titled Salvator Mundi, was auctioned in New York City at Christie's Auction House in 2017 for the record shattering price of 450 million dollars, contemporary artist Elliott Arkin got an idea.
Prior to the auction, the term Salvator Mundi was an antiquated Latin phrase (translated as savior of the world) that most people had never heard and, to Arkin, sounded almost humorous (I.A.: Al Bundy). When hearing the background story and how the painting eventually sold for over double the previous record price for a work of art, Arkin thought the phrase, Salvator Mundi, was in position to take on a whole new meaning and implications beyond simply the title of a painting of Jesus Christ.
Two days after the auction, Arkin registered the URL, www.RealSalvatorMundi.com (SalvatorMundi.com was an already existing site and name for a hospital in Italy) and set-up an online presence and e-commerce site that was to be both a work of art and commercial brand. The selected domain name had the kind of layered, satirical, political, humor consistent with many of the artist's previous works.
Soon he began producing items from sweaters and underwear to pasta sauces and coffee under the alias Real Salvator Mundi (R.S. Mundi for short) and fully registered the mark Salvator Mundi® in several U.S. trademark classes and has filed for registration in a few more. As Arkin describes "Real Salvator Mundi produces Salvator Mundi® brand products.
Recalling Marcel Duchamp's iconic urinal (signed R. Mutt) and admiring Warhol's famous quote "Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art…...good business is the best art", Arkin felt the tale of how the uncovered Leonardo painting went from selling for $1,175 in 2005 to 450 million in 2017, was an fantastical tale/symbol "up for grabs" to be realized as an art project and venture. As Arkin describes Salvator Mundi® "It's a brand that represents success, value, intrigue, allure, magic, discovery, and the fine art of creating it all."
Starting this Fall, the Salvator Mundi® brand is poised for more mainstream name recognition, as a result of wholesaling several of its most popular items to museum shops, design stores and retailers around the country. R.S. Mundi notes "It took a couple of years to develop the right recipes and find the right bottling and packaging partners capable of fulfilling large scale national distribution. We are now ready to stand proudly behind our label with high quality coffee, wines, pasta sauces and a select group of gift and fashion items." To help cover initial inventory and marketing costs, Real Salvator Mundi issued a 5% seed round of funding at an opening valuation of $450,000.
To date, the R.S. Mundi project has received some impressive endorsements. Last year Arkin sold a concept for a Salvator Mundi musical to tony award winning producer, Caiola productions (Link) and just released a new commercial for coffee and wine featuring his friend, artworld legend and former senior curator of Painting & Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, Robert Storr, who in his own words has waited for this August launch to "'sell out' pro bono." (Link) Next month, the Real Salvator Mundi project will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania's Philomathean Society's art gallery.
Moreover, Arkin (aka R.S. Mundi) sees a bright future for the Salvator Mundi® brand and whimsically revealed "I'm already working on my own version of a Nike swish for the logo. Maybe I can make the Salvator Mundi® brand more valuable than the painting. That would be a great work of art!"