Record-breaking Leonardo painting goes to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci's “Salvator Mundi,” or “Savior of the World,” dating from around 1500. Dennis Van Tine STAR MAX

Prince Bader, though, is a friend and associate of Saudi's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the Times said has led a crackdown against corruption and self-enrichment in the country.

The buyer of the most expensive painting in the world, the "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci, was found to be Saudi Arabian prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.

On Wednesday, the newly opened Louvre in Abu Dhabi announced that the 500-year-old painting will be displayed inside the museum.

The first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions. The Louvre Abu Dhabi did not specify when the Salvator Mundi would go on show at the museum.

The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.

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

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According to documents reviewed by the New York Times, Prince Bader is paying Christie's the $450.3 million (including a buyer's premium) in six monthly installments of roughly $58.4 million each.

The sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million 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.

The Museum already houses one of Leonardo's finest works.

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by the Renaissance master known to exist and the only one in private hands. By this time, its authorship by Leonardo, origins and illustrious royal history had been forgotten, and Christ's face and hair were overpainted. It re-emerged in the 1950s, but was written off as a copy and sold for £45 or $60, according to CNN.

Depicting a half-length, front-facing Christ figure grasping a crystal orb in one hand, with the other raised in a gesture of benediction, the work was put up for sale by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who had purchased it in 2013.

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