Abu Dhabi Identified As Buyer Of $450m Da Vinci Salvator Mundi

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Salvator Mundi is next recorded in a 1763 sale by Charles Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham, who put it into auction following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king.

The painting is now heading to the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum (above) to go on display.

He is paying for the iconic painting in six installments, with at least five of them priced at more than $58million, the Times reported.

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The announcement follows the auction at Christie's NY last month where the painting fetched a premium-inclusive $450m, the highest sum ever bid for a work of art.

We now know that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is going to exhibit Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", which sold last month in a Christie's Contemporary sale in NY for a cool $450 million. To differentiate itself from neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi is targeting affluent tourists looking for culture and art and it has also built hotels, theme parks and malls. Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris. The painting's authenticity is still widely questioned by many experts, while the issue of overpainting, restoration and conservation will always be an underlying issue.

The museum's opening has also coincided with a period of heightened political tension in the Gulf and the broader Middle East. The prince is not a previously known art collector, the Times reports, and the sources of his wealth are not publicly known, but he is a close associate of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose far-reaching anti-corruption purge last month cleared the way to the Saudi throne.

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"The word "masterpiece" barely begins to convey the rarity, importance and sublime beauty of Leonardo's painting", said Alan Wintermute from Christie's, the auction house that conducted the sale.

"We are delighted that the work will again be on public view", a Christie's spokesperson said of the record-setting painting.

At the fateful auction where Salvator Mundi wound up making global headlines when it soared past figures ever seen at auction, Christie's postwar and contemporary art co-chairman Alex Rotter was representing Prince Bader in the room. The seller was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased it for $127.5 million in 2013.

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The painting, the title of which means "Savior of the World" in English, was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

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