World News

Mystery Salvator Mundi buyer was a Saudi prince

Mystery Salvator Mundi buyer was a Saudi prince

A Leonardo da Vinci painting of Christ that sold in NY for a record 450 million dollars (£336m) is heading to a museum in the United Arab Emirates.

It was just announced that the brand-new Louvre Abu Dhabi will house the world's most expensive painting.

The mystery buyer for the iconic painting titled "Salvator Mundi" that was sold last month at auction house Christie's in New York is Saudi royal Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, according to the New York Times.

Christie's said that most scholars, however, still believe that the Salvator Mundi they recently sold was the one painted by da Vinci.

The post displayed an image of the 500-year-old work but did not identify its owner.

But there's still no public information on who purchased the painting at the record-setting auction in November, when the controversial artwork went for $450.3 million United States at Christie's, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. The Louvre Abu Dhabi did not specify when the Salvator Mundi would go on show at the museum.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension. The nature of the painting - a rendition of Christ - and the timing of the purchase - less than two weeks after the corruption purge - calls into question whether the Crown Prince has been selectively targeting people in the crackdown, The Times reported.

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The newspaper said that the work will be lent or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia.

Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc.

Dating from the 1500s, the painting was billed as the final Leonardo work held in private hands, one of roughly 20 paintings attributed to him.

Members of Christie's staff pose for pictures next to Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting in London, October 24, 2017.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

In 2013, Salvator Mundi was bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.


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