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

Share

The newspaper said that the work will be lent or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia and his counterpart in Abu Dhabi enjoy a close working relationship and on 5 December their countries announced the formation of a Joint Cooperation Committee to formalise existing collaboration on military, political, economic and cultural matters.

The announcement only partially resolves the mystery over the painting's sale last month in NY for $450.3m, with auction house Christie's steadfastly declining to identify the buyer.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension.

The French weekly le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting's purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.

According to The New York Times, representatives of Prince Bader presented him as a bidder only a day before the record-breaking sale.

Christie's said that most scholars, however, still believe that the Salvator Mundi they recently sold was the one painted by da Vinci. The previous record was Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger, which sold for $179 million.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 8 November in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described it as a "bridge between civilisations".

The announcement comes less than a month after the Louvre Abu Dhabi - the Paris institution's first outpost outside France - opened its doors. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion).

FILE PHOTO: "Salvator Mundi", an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500 by Leonardo da Vinci, is on display for the media at Christie's in New York, NY, U.S., October 10, 2017.

When it resurfaced in 1900, it was purchased by a British collector. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.

Share