Monday, 18 December, 2017

Record-breaking Leonardo painting goes to Louvre Abu Dhabi

NARCH  NARCH30 Leonardo da Vinci's"Salvator Mundi sold for $450.3 million last month
Freda Brock | 07 December, 2017, 12:50

2011, saw the dramatic public unveiling of Salvator Mundi ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, at The National Gallery, London.

A painting of Jesus believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci that shattered auction records when it was sold for $450 million last month will go on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the museum announced on Twitter.

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by the Renaissance master known to exist and the only one in private hands.

"We are pleased that the picture will be exhibited again", said Christie's spokesperson.

It only opened its doors last month, but the Louvre Abu Dhabi is already a force to be reckoned with in the art world.

He described the artwork as, "The Holy Grail of old master paintings".

It's not yet known exactly when the da Vinci work will be displayed at the UAE museum, which is the only other Louvre outside of Paris, but we'll keep you updated.

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The New York Times reported later Wednesday that Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was the buyer, citing documents it reviewed. The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of any kind, including the auction high of $179.4 million for a Pablo Picasso painting sold in 2015.

Salvator Mundi's path from Leonardo's workshop to the auction block at Christie's was not smooth. By this time, its authorship by Leonardo, origins and illustrious royal history had been forgotten, and Christ's face and hair were overpainted.

Upon re-emerging at auction in 1958, it was dismissed as a copy and sold for just £45 ($60).

It was badly damaged and partly painted-over.

It then disappeared until 1900 when it was acquired by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by Leonardo's follower, Bernardino Luini, for the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond. France agreed to lease paintings from its own museums to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi in 2007 for a sum from $800 million to $1 billion. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.

Da Vinci was born in the Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy, in 1452 and died in France in 1519.

The work was exhibited in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY before the sale.

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