Record Da Vinci painting to be exhibited at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Record Da Vinci painting to be exhibited at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Salvator Mundi is worth $450 million.

A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the mystery buyer of the $450.3million Leonardo da Vinici painting of Christ that is now heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a coup for the bold new museum.

Christie's today let the cat out of the bag and said the artwork would be going to the museum, they, however, declined to say whether the Louvre Abu Dhabi purchased the painting.

A spokeswoman for Christie's said it did not comment on the identities of any buyer or seller without their permission.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 8 November in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described it as a "bridge between civilisations". Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums - and pushing prices ever higher. To differentiate itself from neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi is targeting affluent tourists looking for culture and art and it has also built hotels, theme parks and malls.

Bidding was strong for the Leonardo da Vinci painting. 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.

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The museum tweeted that "Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi", which was confirmed by Christie's, the auction house that handled the sale of the painting.

"We are pleased that the picture will be exhibited again", said Christie's spokesperson. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.

The Salvator Mundi ("Saviour of the World") has been called ethereal, mysterious, spooky and touted as a long-lost painting by the Renaissance master.

Documents provided from inside Saudi Arabia revealed that representatives for Prince Bader, did not present him as a bidder until the day before the sale.

2011, saw the dramatic public unveiling of Salvator Mundi ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, at The National Gallery, London.

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