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 new owner of Salvator Mundi, the Leonardo da Vinci painting that broke auction house records when it was sold for $450 million last month, has been revealed as the Saudi Arabian prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

Prince Badar's purchase of the image of Christ comes at a time when elite Saudi's are highly concerned about an ongoing "purge" of influential national figures at the bequest of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. In fact, Prince Bader now serves as the chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which was traditionally controlled directly by the crown prince's family. In September, he helped broker a deal between SRMG and Bloomberg to form the joint, Arabic-language media platform Bloomberg Al-Arabiya. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.

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Neither Prince Bader nor Christie's confirmed the speculation. It is home to the first place in Saudi Arabia designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Al-Hijr archaeological site. USA TODAY has reached out to Christie's for comment; meanwhile, CNN, citing reports that investment firms had purchased the painting in hopes of putting on display, said the auction house would not confirm whether the museum purchased the painting or someone else. However, Prince Bader attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time or along with Prince Mohammed.

However Prince Bader paid for the seminal artwork, one thing is clear: he was desperate to win the auction. This can be linked to what he said to the lawyers of Christie regarding his financial sources.

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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 USA at Christie's, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. He was represented by Alex Rotter, who was the co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's.

The famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ was headed for the new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, according to Agence France-Presse.

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In 1958, when it was advertised as a "school of da Vinci" work, it sold for the paltry sum of $76.36. However the identity of the buyer has remained an elusive secret with speculation now focusing on the Abu Dhabi Royals as the purchaser.

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