AFP / File / Tolga Akmen
“Salvator Mundi,” which was sold at auction for a record $ 450 million, is one of fewer than 20 cakes from Leonardo Da Vinci’s hand
“Salvator Mundi,” a painting of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci that recently sold $ 450 million, is headlined by the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a bid for the bold new museum, it announced Wednesday. The move became possible after a little-known last month.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, has been billed as “the first universal museum in the Arab world,” in a sign of the oil-rich emirate’s global ambitions. “Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi,” the museum said on Twitter in Arabic, English and French. The post displayed an image of the 500-year-old work but did not identify its owner. Christie’s auction house has also steadfastly declined to identify the buyer, which in New York for $ 450.3 million stunned the world art. “Congratulations,” Christie said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The New York Times on Wednesday, citing documents it reviewed, identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia’s Prince bin Abdullah bad bin Bin Bin bin Farhan al-Saud, whose country forbids the official worship of Christ or any other religion except Islam. Prince Bader has no history as a major art collector but is a friend and associate of Saudi Arabia’s powerful Prince Mohammed bin Salman Crown, the Times said. Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called to admire Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The French weekly The Journal of the Sunday earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting’s purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums. The newspaper says that the work will be slow or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia. Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based International Energy Holdings, Inc. The firm is one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling. The sale more than doubled the previous record of $ 179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso’s “The Women of Algiers (Version O)” in 2015, also in New York. – High ambitions in Abu Dhabi –
AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and is the first of three museums to open on the emirate Saadiyat Island
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as “bridge between civilizations.” It is the first of three museums on Saadiyat Island, with plans for New York’s Guggenheim.
The island will also feature the Zayed National Museum, which has signed a deal with the British Museum. 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. The museum opened with about 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise in the area of investment ($ 1.16 trillion). The first works on loan from the Louvre in Paris include another painting by Da Vinci – “The Beautiful Ferronniere,” one of his portraits of women. – Recently authenticated –
AFP / KARIM SAHIB
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan greets French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Macron at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum on November 8, 2017 during its inauguration
“Salvator Mundi,” which means “Savior of the World,” went to public display in 2011 in a dramatic unveiling at The National Gallery in London, where the work was declared to be the first to be discovered. It is one of fewer than 20 different types of masterpieces, which is acceptable to Christie’s.
British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to be a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005. It is Dmitry Rybolovlev, the boss of the AS Monaco football club. He had bought the painting in 2013 for $ 127.5 million, but later he was charged to the Swiss art dealer of overcharging him.