Muslim Prince Spends $450 Million On A Painting Of Jesus

Muslim Prince Spends $450 Million On A Painting Of Jesus

Muslim Prince Spends $450 Million On A Painting Of Jesus

A Saudi Arabian prince is the mysterious buyer who paid a record-breaking $450.3 million for Leonardo da Vinci's painting of Jesus Christ.

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.

A spokeswoman for Christie's offered her congratulations to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, telling CNN that she was "delighted that the piece is going to be on view in public".

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Christie's called the painting's reemergence "the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century".

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Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud has been identified as the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.

Prince Bader did not respond to a detailed request for comment.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi - a franchise of the Paris original - is a symbol of the oil-rich sheikhdom's drive to boost its "soft power" credentials.

The French weekly le Journal du Dimanche first reported that two investment firms were behind the shocking purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.

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The sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4m paid for Pablo Picasso's The Women of Algiers (Version O) in 2015, also in NY.

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.

At Christie's Da Vinci auction, the salesroom was full of millionaires and billionaires, including Point72 Asset Management's Steve Cohen, Blackstone Group LP's Tom Hill, who collects Old Master works, and philanthropist Eli Broad. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16bn). Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris.

Dating from the 1500s, the painting was billed as the final Leonardo work held in private hands, one of roughly 20 paintings attributed to him.

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Its latest sale was initiated by Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev, the boss of football club AS Monaco.

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