Mystery Solved: Saudi Prince Is Buyer Of $450M DaVinci Painting

Mystery Solved: Saudi Prince Is Buyer Of $450M DaVinci Painting

Mystery Solved: Saudi Prince Is Buyer Of $450M DaVinci Painting

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

Photo Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" on display at Christie's auction house in NY.

Prince Mohammed comes from a more moderate side of Islam although much of the Sunni country practices a strict Wahhabi form of Islam.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as a 'bridge between civilizations'.

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It has strong links to the world famous Louvre in Paris and has borrowed 300 pieces of art from France.

Auction house Christie's has also steadfastly declined to identify the buyer, whose purchase in NY for $450.3 million stunned the art world.

Reports surfaced Thursday indicating that a little known Saudi Arabian prince purchased the most expensive painting sold at an auction, but was he just a proxy?

The newspaper said that the work will be lent or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia. It is rare that a buyer is not identified following a sale.

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Leonardo's "Salvator Mundi" may also offend the sensibilities and violate the rules of the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom. 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. By this time, its authorship by Leonardo, origins and illustrious royal history had been forgotten, and Christ's face and hair were overpainted.

The painting, which Sotheby's sold for a mere £45 less than 100 years ago, has gone through quite the journey since it was first created around the year 1500, falling into the possession of everyone from King Charles I to a Russian fertilizer salesman with connections to Donald Trump.

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.

'Salvator Mundi, ' which means 'Savior of the World, ' went on public display in 2011 in a dramatic unveiling at The National Gallery in London, where the work was declared to be the first newly discovered Da Vinci painting in a century. His statement did not mention the painting or address whether he had bought it. The painting caused a worldwide media sensation, not always for the right reasons.

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There are also questions about the authenticity of the painting.

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