$450M Leonardo painting heading to new Louvre museum

$450M Leonardo painting heading to new Louvre museum

Prince Bader's purchase of the painting is surprising for a number of reasons, as the New York Times noted. The canvas will appear in Abu Dhabi.

Prince Mohammed also put Prince Bader in charge of governing a commission overseeing the development of Al Ola, which contains an important archaeological site.

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 21 century. The prince is not a previously known art collector, the Times reports, and the sources of his wealth are not publicly known, but he is a close associate of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose far-reaching anti-corruption purge last month cleared the way to the Saudi throne. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are close allies. But on Wednesday, Louvre Abu Dhabi (which opened in November) announced the upcoming arrival of the painting on twitter.

"We are delighted that the work will again be on public view", a Christie's spokesperson said of the record-setting painting.

Salvator Mundi's staggering record eclipses the previous podium standings - which, adjusted for modern day pricings - include Interchange by Willem de Kooning which sold for $300 million in 2015, followed by The Card Players by Paul Cezanne which went for $250 million in 2011, followed by Nafea Faa Ipoipo by Paul Gauguin in third place, which sold for $210 million in 2014.

Featuring a vast silver-toned dome, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, drawing inspiration from Arab design and evoking both an open desert and the sea.

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Members of Christie's staff pose for pictures next to Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting in London, October 24, 2017.

Dating from the 1500s, the painting was billed as the final Leonardo work held in private hands, one of roughly 20 paintings attributed to him.

Meanwhile, Salvator Mundi has had a controversial history, with one expert doubting if it is still the original work of da Vinci.

Bidding was strong for the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

It had sold for a mere £45 pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005. Bouvier, in turn, sold it to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million in 2014.

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