At the end of 2017, the world-famous “Salvator Mundi” painting was sold to an anonymous bidder for about $450 million and the art world erupted in speculation. Do you know who was the buyer and what did the sale mean for future generations of art enthusiasts seeking to see it?
Later there were reassurances that the painting, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci will be displayed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi despite some expert skepticism. The painting was inaugurated the same month as it was sold.
The famous painting of Jesus never appears so far to have made it here. The official unveiling date was postponed last year but a new date was never set. That year, the New York Times reported that one of his close allies was believed to have been behind the 2017 purchase.
Arnet, an art market website claimed that they have located the missing painting on the private superyacht Serene, which was reportedly bought by the Saudi crown prince too.
If confirmed, the Artnet report that cites several unnamed sources would suggest that the painting is indeed in Saudi possession and that suspicions that “Salvator Mundi” might not make it to the Louvre Abu Dhabi are correct.
The Saudi Center for International Communication and representatives for the Louvre in Paris did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The absence of the famous painting at the Abu Dhabi Louvre cast a shadow over the aspiring museum project. The agreement to allow a museum in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to use the Louvre’s world-renowned name was controversial from the beginning, and the more recent controversy over “Salvator Mundi” has emboldened early critics.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the new owner of “Salvator Mundi” faced even more criticism from the human rights group.