Culture&Arts

Da Vinci sold for $450 mn is headed to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Da Vinci sold for $450 mn is headed to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Exhibiting the painting would prove a major attraction for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November at a ceremony attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula and one of the world's newest, having opened its doors on November 8.

"Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to LouvreAbuDhabi", the museum said on Twitter in Arabic, English and French, displaying an image of the 500-year-old work.

These acquisitions, including that of "Salvator Mundi", are likely part of a dedicated effort to raise the global cultural profile of the U.A.E. Also, the prince has not commented regarding his recent purchase. The newspaper cited documents provided from inside Saudi Arabia.

Alex Rotter, the auction house's co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art in the Americas, represented the anonymous buyer of the Da Vinci and placed the winning bid after a spellbinding 19-minute contest that saw offers at $200 million, $300 million and $350 million fall short.

He reportedly responded that it came from real estate and that he was one of 5,000 princes, saying nothing more.

"Salvator Mundi", which depicts Jesus holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in blessing, is one of some 16 known surviving works painted by da Vinci.

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The painting disappeared several times over the course of history, most recently in 1958 when it was sold alongside the rest of the Cook Collection in London. 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.

The first works on loan from the Louvre in Paris include another painting by Da Vinci - "La Belle Ferronniere", one of his portraits of women. It sold for only 45 pounds or about $125 today, CNN reported.

When it resurfaced in 1900, it was purchased by a British collector.

It then underwent a six-year restoration and verification process.

The Salvator Mundi ("Saviour of the World") has been called ethereal, mysterious, spooky and touted as a long-lost painting by the Renaissance master.

He had bought the painting in 2013 for $127.5 million although he later accused a Swiss art dealer of overcharging him.

The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of any kind, including the auction high of $179.4 million for a Pablo Picasso painting sold in 2015.


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