Louvre Abu Dhabi Claims They Own Leonardo's "Salvator Mundi"

Kristopher Drake
December 11, 2017

In a tweet on Wednesday, the Louvre Abu Dhabi said it was getting the painting.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened last month and now will house Leonardo's Salvator Mundi.

There had been media reports that it had been bought by a Saudi prince.

Prince Bader has no history as a major art collector but is a friend and associate of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the Times said.

Instead it is the UAE that has landed the prized work which will now go on display at the museum, which is at the heart of a fast emerging cultural district in the capital.

Christie's confirmed on Friday that the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism acquired Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi".

Dating back to approximately 1500, "Salvator Mundi" smashed auction records when it went under the hammer at Christie's NY last month.

A spokeswoman for Christie's offered her congratulations to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, telling CNN that she was "delighted that the piece is going to be on view in public".

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported Thursday that Bader was actually acting as a proxy for Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

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

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.

Salvator Mundi, which depicts Jesus holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in blessing, is one of some 16 known surviving works painted by da Vinci.

Apparently, the confusion over its owner stems from the fact that a Saudi prince did indeed make the winning bid on the painting, but he was doing so as a representative for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

Upon re-emerging at auction in 1958, it was dismissed as a copy and sold for just £45 ($60). The seller was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased it for $127.5 million in 2013.

Bought a $450M painting?

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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