Record-breaking Leonardo painting goes to Louvre Abu Dhabi

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

The newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi made the announcement on Wednesday.

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

Dating back to approximately 1500, "Salvator Mundi" smashed auction records when it went under the hammer at Christie's NY last month.

"We are delighted that the work will again be on public view", a Christie's spokesperson said of the record-setting painting.

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Acquired a painting by a famous artist apparently, the Saudi Arabia Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed.

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 highest known sale price for any artwork had been $US300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting, Interchange.

It's not yet known exactly when the da Vinci work will be displayed at the UAE museum, which is the only other Louvre outside of Paris, but we'll keep you updated. 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. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself.

Upon re-emerging at auction in 1958, it was dismissed as a copy and sold for just £45 ($60).

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It was badly damaged and partly painted-over.

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.

The art dealers restored the painting and documented its authenticity as a work by Leonardo.

Da Vinci was born in the Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy, in 1452 and died in France in 1519. Even before becoming the world's most expensive painting, it drew huge crowds during pre-auction viewings in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

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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