A Saudi prince spent $450.3m on Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Jesus Christ at a NY auction last month and it will be exhibited at the new branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.
The buyer's identity, reported by the New York Times this evening, was discovered in the midst of an investigation into Saudi Arabia's elite class, including Prince Bader's family and associates, who have been criticized for their showy displays of wealth.
Prince Bader is part of the Farhan branch of the royal family, which traces its lineage to an 18th-century Saudi ruler, not to King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, the founder of the modern-day kingdom.
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In a record-breaking auction, however, the painting ended up going for $450 million, solidly eclipsing Picasso's $179-million Women of Algiers as the most expensive painting ever sold-and causing an outpour of backlash as many decried the triumph of marketing and branding over the quality of the actual artwork.
As for Prince Bader, when he's not palling around with Prince Mohammed, he also works on side projects like partnerships with those ranging from Verizon to Michael Bloomberg, as well as large program he founded to manage the country's recycling. Many of Saudi Arabia's richest and most powerful people were arrested and jailed last month.
'Congratulations, ' Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
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A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the mystery buyer of the $450.3million Leonardo da Vinici painting of Christ that is now heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a coup for the bold new museum. It had been speculated, however, that the buyer might have hailed from the Middle East, particularly following posts on social media earlier today announcing that the painting was making its way to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Prior to the auction, Christie's lawyers questioned him about his ties to the royal family and the source of his money, which he told them came from real estate.
He and Prince Mohammed, 32, both attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time.
2011, saw the dramatic public unveiling of Salvator Mundi ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, at The National Gallery, London. Russian billionaire Dmitry E. Rybolovlev was the previous owner, who paid $127.5 million in 2013.
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