Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The famous painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, sold at auction last November for a record amount of over 450 million dollars, will be exhibited in the new Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
The precious work “Salvator Mundi” (pictured), which depicts the effigy of Christ, will therefore soon be visible to the public in one of the Gulf monarchies, an area with a very large Muslim majority where, unlike Saudi Arabia, freedom of worship is allowed.
The work that boasts more than 500 years of history and that will embellish a recently inaugurated structure, along the lines of the famous Parisian structure. The directors of the Emirati museum have confirmed the painting will be hung in their halls but will not reveal the proprietor who purchased the work of art at the recent auction in Christie’s.
According to the New York Times the new owner – whose identity the same auction house has kept strictly confidential – is a Saudi prince, the multimillionaire Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. This is the highest price ever paid in history by a private individual for a work of art, at the end of an escalation in bids – over the phone – lasting over 20 minutes. Previously, the record belonged to a painting by Pablo Picasso, “Women of Algiers” (version 0), sold in 2015 for a total amount including auction rights of 179.4 million dollars.
Leonardo da Vinci, born in 1452 and died in 1519 in a village in the Loire, (France), is believed to have produced no more than 20 paintings during his intense life as an artist, scientist and engineer. The “Salvator Mundi” dates back to the early 1500s and is the only work of the artist that has not been preserved in public facilities or museums.
The directors of the Arab Louvre express satisfaction with the presence of a work that gives greater prestige to the exhibition and the entire structure, built in 10 years at a total cost of one billion dollars. During the inauguration ceremony on November 8th, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al-Nahyane spoke about a “global” cultural monument.
Inside there are 600 permanent works and 300 more on loan from France. The Gulf Museum also pays hundreds of millions of dollars for this “rent” and for the use of the Louvre name, as well as for the advice of experts from the parent company.