by Joshua Krishnamoorthi:
“Salvator Mandi” the painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci recently sold for $450 million is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for the new museum. The move became possible only after a little known Saudi prince reportedly bought the painting last month. The post displayed an image of the 500-year-old work but did not identify its owner.
The 500-year-old “Salvator Mundi” depicts Jesus Christ dressed in flowing robes and holding a crystal orb in his left hand. It is the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in a private collection, making it the most expensive painting ever sold, according to Christie’s Auction House. Christie’s declined to identify the buyer whose purchase in New York for $450 million stunned the art world.
Later The New York Times identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia’s Prince bader 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 he is a friend and associate of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman according to The Times. Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International Inc.
“Salvator Mundi” which means “Savior of the World” went on public display in 2011 at the National Gallery in London and is one of the fewer than 20 paintings generally accepted as being from the Renaissance master’s own hand, according to Christie’s Auction House.