A 500-year-old painting of Christ believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The newly opened museum posted it on Twitter not specifying whether it had bought the painting at auction this month. The piece of art known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) was sold in New York for a record $450m. It was the highest auction price for any work of art.
The New York Times reported it was bought by Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, citing documents the newspaper had reviewed. The bidding was done via a telephone call. Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence. Salvator Mundi, believed to have been painted sometime after 1505, is the only work thought to be in private hands.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum opened earlier this month in the United Arab Emirates, costing cost #1bn to build. It holds 600 artworks permanently and 300 loaned from France. The museum pays Paris hundreds of millions of dollars for this as well as for the use of the Louvre name and managerial advice.