'Salvator Mundi' Heads To Abu Dhabi
On Wednesday, the newly opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi announced that the 500-year-old painting will be displayed inside the museum. Salvator Mundi features an image of Christ wearing a Renaissance-inspired robe.
The painting is one of the few last artworks created by da Vinci that is known to exist. It is also the only one in private hands.
During last month's auction, Salvator Mundi or Savior of the World was described by Alan Wintermute, a spokesperson for Christie's auction house, as the greatest art discovery of the 21st century.
"The word 'masterpiece' barely begins to convey the rarity, importance and sublime beauty of Leonardo's painting," said Wintermute.
Anonymous Buyer Is A Saudi Prince
Christie's auction house sold the work of art to an anonymous buyer, but it has recently been revealed that a Saudi prince bought Leonardo's painting. Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud's identity was disclosed in the documents obtained online.
The Saudi prince is not a famous art collector and the sources of his wealth remain unknown. He initially gave a $100 million deposit to secure his purchase and to qualify for the auction.
Notably, the 32-year-old prince's identity wasn't revealed without his knowledge. Also, the prince has not commented regarding his recent purchase.
da Vinci's Masterpiece Has Controversial History
Meanwhile, Salvator Mundi has had a controversial history, with one expert doubting if it is still the original work of da Vinci. King Charles I of England used to be the owner of the painting before it disappeared for a long period of time.
When it resurfaced in 1900, it was purchased by a British collector. The painting was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005 by a group of art dealers for less than $10,000. At that time, the painting was badly damaged and most of its parts were painted over.
In 2013, Salvator Mundi was bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.
Christie's said that most scholars, however, still believe that the Salvator Mundi they recently sold was the one painted by da Vinci. Prior to the Saudi Prince's purchase, the artwork was also displayed in Hong Kong, London, and San Francisco.