Saudi Prince Identified as Buyer of $450.3M Leonardo Painting "Salvator Mundi"

08 December, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was identified as the mystery buyer in a New York Times report published Wednesday, but is now reported to be a proxy for the crown prince.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has undertaken an anti-corruption campaign, bought the painting using a distant relative as a "proxy", the newspaper said Thursday, citing a source in the USA government intelligence community and a Saudi art-world figure familiar with the purchase. As he and King Salman have also suspiciously appointed Prince Bader to head up the Saudi Research and Marketing Group and another government commission, all this only seems to make Prince Bader's sources of income even murkier-and particularly his motivations in making such a public display of his mysterious wealth on an item that may cause some cultural conflicts in his country.

On Wednesday, the Louvre Abu Dhabi announced that the record-breaking Da Vinci painting would be displayed there. They turned it down, and did not bid on it this time around.

Salvator Mundi is the most expensive painting ever traded. The only branch of prestigious Parisian institution outside France has some 600 works and is considered " first universal Museum in Arab world".

'Congratulations, ' Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The work of genius of Italian Renaissance was awarded last month by 450 million dollars, more than twice as much as almost 180 million dollars paid in 2015 by Women of Algiers (version 0), by Pablo Picasso.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened earlier this month in the United Arab Emirates having cost £1bn to build in a 10-year project.

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Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", or "Savior of the World", dating from around 1500.

Da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.

Some maintain the painting is not by the hand of the Renaissance master da Vinci rather one of his star pupils or students.

It had sold for a mere 45 British 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.

He had bought the painting in 2013 for $127.5 million although he later accused a Swiss art dealer of overcharging him.

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