After listing the sale of a ‘genuine’ da Vinci canvas on the website Avito, a Russian classified advertisements website akin to Ebay, the seller, a man named Dmitry, says he has found a buyer.

The work, Young Girl with Furs, was up for sale at €72 million (£64 mil) in an ad with several photos as well as documentation. Posted on 1 August on the Russian e-commerce platform, the ad was withdrawn only four days later.

blog

The advert read: “Attention: I am selling the original Leonardo da Vinci painting ‘A Girl in Furs’. Location: Germany... estimated value €280m... asking price €72m.”

The Russian seller refused to disclose the identity of the buyer, nor did he explain why the painting was in Germany or how the work came to be in his possession.

According to Dmitry, the painting was authenticated by the art restoration and conservation company Atelje Catellani, based in Stockholm. A spokesperson for the Swedish company said “There is nobody entitled to offer the painting. A mandate does not exist; nobody has access to the painting.” The firm subsequently communicated that it was not obliged to share further information.

Girl with Furs. Photo: Historia.cat Girl with Furs. Photo: Historia.cat

When asked why chose to list the painting through a classifieds site as opposed to an auction house, where (if authentic) its price could have reached the vicinity of 2017’s Salvator Mundi, Dimitry told The Art Newspaper: ““Why do you find it so strange? I was able to sell it through Avito.”

Artsy revealed that the painting appears to be the same as one shopped around to dealers and Leonardo experts in 2014. Art advisor Todd Levin says he was contacted by an Irish man, Richard Lawler, certifying that he wished to sell not one, but two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci.

At the time, when asked if he had heard about any Leonardo paintings making the rounds, art historian and da Vinci expert Martin Kemp told Artsy that of the two most frequently mentioned works, one of them was “a portrait of a woman with a fur wrap”.

Dmitry’s other ads on Avito, which included e-books and professional training materials, have now expired.

Shop Leonardo da Vinci on Barnebys

Comment