Louvre Abu Dhabi to exhibit 'Salvator Mundi,' the world's most expensive painting

11 December, 2017, 02:13 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi to exhibit 'Salvator Mundi,' the world's most expensive painting

When Leonardo da Vinci's long-lost painting, Salvator Mundi ("Savior of the World") shattered records by selling for US$450.3 million at auction in mid-November, its fate remained as mysterious as its unknown buyer.

Salvator Mundi, sold for $450.3 million, is an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ, which dates to about 1500. The museum was inaugurated only the week before the Christie's auction and it would appear that the Saudis have chosen to display the work at the newly opened institution in their close Middle Eastern ally. The New York Times identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia's Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, who has no history of being a major art collector, but is a friend and associate of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The following day, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the true buyer, citing a source in the US government intelligence community and a Saudi art-world figure familiar with the purchase.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi - a franchise of the Paris original - is a symbol of the oil-rich sheikhdom's drive to boost its "soft power" credentials.

The official added that the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism had subsequently asked Prince Badr to act "as an intermediary purchaser".


The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.

The island will also feature the Zayed National Museum, which had signed a loan deal with the British Museum - although the arrangement has come increasingly into question due to construction delays.

NEW YORK - New York collects sales tax on even the smallest items, but it probably won't collect a cent on a almost half-billion dollar painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.

Yet the identity of the successful telephone bidder has yet to be revealed, sparking intense speculation about the painting's new owner.

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