Record Da Vinci painting to be exhibited at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Coming soon to Abu Dhabi the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

Coming soon to Abu Dhabi the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

A painting of Jesus believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci that shattered auction records when it was sold for $450 million last month will go on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the museum announced on Twitter.

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.

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Christie's says most scholars agree the painting is by Leonardo, though some critics have questioned the attribution and some say the extensive restoration muddies the work's authorship. Prince Bader, part of a distant branch of the wealthy royal family, is not generally known as a major art collector or someone with a large source of wealth, according to The Times. However the identity of the buyer has remained an elusive secret with speculation now focusing on the Abu Dhabi Royals as the purchaser.

Christie's auction house, which handled the sale, had said that it was the only known Da Vinci piece remaining in private hands.

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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 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.

In a 30-year deal worth a reported €1 billion ($1.18 billion), the French Louvre assists with exhibition management, offers advice and lends artworks to its Middle Eastern franchise.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", or "Savior of the World", dating from around 1500. Even before becoming the world's most expensive painting, it drew huge crowds during pre-auction viewings in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco. Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris. Many years earlier, in 1958, it sold for a £45 at Sotheby's.

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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