A painting of Christ by renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci that sold in New York for a record $450 million is now on its way to a museum in the United Arab Emirates.
The newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi made the proud announcement on Wednesday.
U.S. media reports say that according to sale documents the mystery buyer happens to be a little-known Saudi prince. Auction house Christie which sold the painting to an anonymous buyer last month says it is not its practice to reveal or comment on the identities of buyers or sellers without their permission.
The 500-year-old painting is called “Salvator Mundi”, Latin for “Savior of the World.” It’s one of fewer than 20 paintings known to exist made by da Vinci was known as the Renaissance master. It is also the only one in private hands.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel is topped by an enormous signature dome of overlapping geometric lattices. It opened last month and weighs more than 7,500 tons.
The new high-end museum will showcase works of art from all over the world.
In 2007, the Louvre Museum in Paris signed a $525 million agreement to give permission to the Abu Dhabi government to use the “Louvre” name for its museum for 30 years and another $750 million more for ongoing management advice and assistance.
The project took almost a decade in development and drew massive criticisms for the use of migrant workers in the museum’s construction. The region has a history of abuse and exploitation of such workers. Both the UAE authorities and the architect defended the treatment of workers and argued that progress has been made as far as labor rights are concerned in UAE.