Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is Going to the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is Going to the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has been billed as'the first universal museum in the Arab world in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions
07 December, 2017, 20:42
The New York Times reports that it was purchased by Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Sau, a Saudi prince. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.
LouvreAbu Dhabi opened its doors last month, with French president Emmanuel Macron on hand for the opening ceremony, among others.
Christie's said that most scholars, however, still believe that the Salvator Mundi they recently sold was the one painted by da Vinci.
Badar was reportedly so unknown to Christie's - the auction house in New York City that sold the painting - that the officials at the art house were still trying to confirm the prince's identity even after he made a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction. As the Times points out, in July the king appointed Prince Bader as governor of a new commission led by Prince Mohammed and charged with developing the Al Ola region into a tourist destination. The description also goes on to say Prince Bader was "active" in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the Middle East for over five years.
The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $US300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting, Interchange.
During last month's auction, Salvator Mundi or Savior of the World was described by Alan Wintermute, a spokesperson for Christie's auction house, as the greatest art discovery of the 21 century.
The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion).
It is one of fewer than 20 paintings generally accepted as being from the Renaissance master's own hand, according to Christie's. By this time, its authorship by Leonardo, origins and illustrious royal history had been forgotten, and Christ's face and hair were overpainted.
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.
Its latest sale was initiated by Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev, the boss of football club AS Monaco.
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