Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi Verified account @LouvreAbuDhabi

Not only was Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi the talk of the art world, but last month's news of a record-setting $450.3 million sale at auction made headlines around the globe.

The New York Times on Wednesday, citing documents it reviewed, identified the buyer as Saudi Arabia's Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, whose country forbids the official worship of Christ or any other religion except Islam.

Salvator Mundi is the most expensive painting ever traded.

Prince Mohammed also put Prince Bader in charge of governing a commission overseeing the development of Al Ola, which contains an important archaeological site.

Although Prince Badar did not respond to The Times' detailed request for comment, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi - a museum in the United Arab Emirates - tweeted Wednesday that the "Salvator Mundi" was "coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi", The Times said.

He is a board member of Energy Holdings International, an energy company with business in Middle East, Asia and Americas.

The sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4m paid for Pablo Picasso's The Women of Algiers (Version O) in 2015, also in NY.

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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. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16bn).

The Renaissance master's "La Belle Ferronniere", or Portrait of an Unknown Woman, done between 1495 and 1499 and recently restored, is on loan from the Musee du Louvre in Paris.

The painting is one of the few last artworks created by da Vinci that is known to exist.

'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. 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 was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005 by a group of art dealers for less than $10,000.

The painting was later sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it in 2013 for $US127.5 million in a private sale that became the subject of a continuing lawsuit.

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