Saudi prince is buyer of world's dearest painting, Leonardo's Salvator Mundi

Da Vinci Painting worth $450 Million is heading to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Da Vinci Painting worth $450 Million is heading to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Christie's representatives attempted to identify Prince Bader and his source of finances before the sale, after he gave a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction, The Times said.

The New York Times reported that the victor of the sale at Christie's on November 15 was a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, citing documents provided to the newspaper from inside Saudi Arabia.

"The word "masterpiece" barely begins to convey the rarity, importance and sublime beauty of Leonardo's painting", said Alan Wintermute from Christie's, the auction house that conducted the sale. Yet it's still mind-boggling to think that the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a recently completed museum costing roughly $700 million, will soon house a painting costing $450.3 million.

The French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported that two investment firms were behind the purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.

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It is believed the prince will be lending the Leonardo to the museum in Abu Dhabi. The previous record was Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger, which sold for $179 million.

Abu Dhabi opened its Louvre last month, positioning itself as a city of cultural tourism with a display of hundreds of works that it hopes will draw visitors from around the world. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion).

'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.

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings generally accepted as being from the Renaissance master's own hand, according to Christie's.

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Bidding was strong for the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

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

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.

The painting was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005 by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $US10,000.

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