The most expensive painting Da Vinci will appear in UAE

Carla Harmon
December 7, 2017

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.

The work - known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) - was sold in NY for a record $450m (£341m).

A 500-year-old painting of Christ believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the museum has said.


The Art Museum of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi was opened this year in the capital of the UAE.

He described the artwork as, "The Holy Grail of old master paintings".

The announcement only partially resolves the mystery over the painting's sale last month in NY for $450.3m, with auction house Christie's steadfastly declining to identify the buyer.


The New York Times reported Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud purchased the painting at the November 15 auction. 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. Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris. 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.

It had sold for a mere £45 pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

It was badly damaged and partly painted-over. By then the painting was generally reckoned to be the work of a follower of Leonardo and not the work of Leonardo himself. Rybolovlev bought it in 2013 for $127.5 million from art dealer Yves Bouvier along with some other canvases. French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms had purchased the painting in the hope of lending it to museums.


Christie's capitalised on the public's interest in Leonardo - considered one of the greatest artists of all time - with a media campaign that labelled the painting The Last Da Vinci. Even before becoming the world's most expensive painting, it drew huge crowds during pre-auction viewings in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER