Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Acquired a painting by a famous artist apparently, the Saudi Arabia Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed.

The new branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi will exhibit Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Christ, "Salvator Mundi", which at $450.3 million became the most expensive painting ever sold at a NY auction last month. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.

Museumgoers will be able to view the painting at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a United Arab Emirates franchise of the Paris museum, Christie's Auction House told Bloomberg. Louvre Abu Dhabi is a joint project between the French government and the city of Abu Dhabi, to which Saudi's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is a close ally. This could be because Prince Mohammed is a supporter and ally of Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. "Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi".

Bader bin Abdullah was identified in documents reviewed by the New York Times as the buyer of the painting, which was sold at Christie's in New York on November 15. 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 sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso's 'The Women of Algiers (Version O)' in 2015, also in NY.


The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia.

"Salvator Mundi", which means "Savior of the World", went on public display in 2011 in a dramatic unveiling at The National Gallery in London, where the work was declared to be the first newly discovered Da Vinci painting in a century. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16bn).

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by the Renaissance master known to exist and the only one in private hands. By then, though, the painting's origin had been obscured due to overpainting and it was credited to da Vinci's follower Bernardino Luini. The painting is purchased by an anonymous buyer for a record-breaking $450 million in NY last month. It re-emerged in the 1950s, but was written off as a copy and sold for £45 or $60, according to CNN.

He had bought the painting in 2013 for $127.5m although he later accused a Swiss art dealer of overcharging him.

Like this: