Da Vinci sold for $450 mn heading to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci

Christie's said that most scholars, however, still believe that the Salvator Mundi they recently sold was the one painted by da Vinci. The painting is purchased by an anonymous buyer for a record-breaking $450 million in NY last month.

Christie's auction house sold it to an anonymous buyer last month.

The New York Times recently reported that a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, was the man responsible for buying the painting at that staggering price of $450.3 million.

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 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.

Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called an admirer of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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

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He described the facility, an offshoot of the famous Paris art museum situated in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, as a "bridge between civilizations". Now the painting that far surpassed the former record held by Picasso's Women of Algiers (which fetched $179.4 million in 2015) has found a new home.

It is the first of three museums slated to open on the emirate's Saadiyat Island, with plans also in place for an edition of New York's Guggenheim.

The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. It now displays "La Belle Ferronnière", which is on loan from the Louvre in Paris, according to Bloomberg.

Rybolovlev owned the painting until November 15, when Prince Bader made it the world's most expensive painting by shelling out $450,312,500 for it. Picasso's "Les Femmes d'Alger" ("Women of Algiers") held the previous record of $179,364,992.

It had sold for a mere £45 in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

In 2013, Salvator Mundi was bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.

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