A Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ that recently sold for a record $450 million is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The newly opened museum made the announcement this week.
The 500-year-old painting is called “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World.” It is one of fewer than 20 da Vinci paintings known to exist.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 11. The waterfront museum in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city includes Middle Eastern objects and paintings, as well as works by Western artists.
Last month, Christie’s auction house in New York City sold the painting for the most money ever paid for a piece of art at auction. The auction house did not say who the buyer was; it does not comment on the identities of buyers or sellers without their permission.
But the New York Times newspaper has reported that the buyer may have been a Saudi prince.
The 66-centimeter-tall painting dates to around 1500. It shows Jesus dressed in Renaissance-style clothing. His right hand is raised in blessing and his left hand is holding a crystal ball.
The painting was in a private collection of King Charles I of England. It disappeared from view until 1900, when a British collector bought it. At that time, it was thought to have been painted by a student of Leonardo rather than the master himself.
In 2005, a group of art dealers paid less than $10,000 for the artwork. It was badly damaged and partly painted over. They restored the work and proved that the painting was done by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
Before last month’s record-breaking sale, the highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s painting “Interchange.”
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I’m Dorothy Gundy.