Culture&Arts

'Salvator Mundi' Buyer Revealed: Little Known Saudi Prince

'Salvator Mundi' Buyer Revealed: Little Known Saudi Prince

The mystery buyer who dropped $450.3 million in the biggest art sale ever has been identified: Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" was acquired by the Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, according to the New York Times. It had been speculated, however, that the buyer might have hailed from the Middle East, particularly following posts on social media earlier today announcing that the painting was making its way to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

"Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi", the museum said on Twitter in Arabic, English and French.

The mystery buyer for the iconic painting titled "Salvator Mundi" that was sold last month at auction house Christie's in New York is Saudi royal Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, according to the New York Times.

"Congratulations", Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Prince Badar's purchase of the image of Christ comes at a time when elite Saudi's are highly concerned about an ongoing "purge" of influential national figures at the bequest of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.

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The stunning amount paid by a Saudi royal for a painting that some believe is not a genuine Da Vinci, like reports of Mohammed bin Salman's profilgacy on yachts and similar luxury items, casts in sharp doubt Riyadh's claims of cracking down on extravagence and corruption. As the Times points out, in July the king appointed Prince Bader as governor of a new commission led by Prince Mohammed and charged with developing the Al Ola region into a tourist destination.

The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.

Salvator Mundi has a controversial history, with at least one expert doubting that it is the work of Renaissance master da Vinci.

The Times reported the "Salvator Mundi" sale doubled the price of the previous record-holder, Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers", which sold for $179.4 million in 2015 in NY.

Christie's auction house, which handled the sale, had said that it was the only known Da Vinci piece remaining in private hands. It was sold for just thousands in 2005 but was bought again in 2013 for $127.5 million by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.


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