Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Heading to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi exterior (Photo courtesy of louvreabudhabi.ae/en/)

The most expensive artwork ever sold, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World), is heading to the new Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The new museum made the announcement on December 6 via Twitter, less than a month after the 500-year-old painting was bought at auction for $450.3 million at Christie’s.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, located on Saadiyat Island, is a sister museum to the renowned Louvre museum in Paris. Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 11 and is the largest museum in the Arabian peninsula.

On November 16, Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione correctly predicted during a radio interview on WJR NewsTalk 760 that the artwork would find its way into an institution.

“It could go into a museum,” Scaglione said. “It’ll have real value to them.”

On December 8, the Louvre Abu Dhabi announced on Twitter that the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi acquired the painting for the museum. The new museum holds 600 artworks permanently and 300 loaned from France.

“Christie’s can confirm that the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi is acquiring ‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo da Vinci,” said Christie’s in a written statement. “We are delighted to see that this remarkable painting will be available for public view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”

The identity of the buyer was not initially disclosed following the auction on November 15, prompting a series of speculations and investigations. On December 8, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was rumored to be the buyer, but Saudi officials deny it.

On December 7, the New York Times reported that Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, a Saudi prince, was the buyer. Later reports claimed Prince Bader served as a proxy for Prince Mohammed.

Record-Breaking Painting

“Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World), c. 1500, Leonardo da Vinci. Public domain. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

The sale of “Salvator Mundi” broke previous records for the highest auction price for any work of art sold. During his WJR interview, Scaglione said the $450.3-million bid was likely due to the nature of the painting. Leonardo died in 1519, and fewer than 20 of his paintings still exist.

“It’s rarity,” Scaglione said. “One of the greatest artists ever to live and the only painting you can buy is this one. I’m not surprised.”

Completed in the early 1500s, “Salvator Mundi” depicts Jesus Christ holding a crystal orb in his left hand while giving a benediction with his right.

There is controversy over whether the artwork is a genuine work by Leonardo. The intricate curls of hair, the detailed hands, and the shading technique seem to indicate it was created by Leonardo. Some scholars point to details like the crystal orb’s unrealistic depiction to suggest it might not be authentic.

“This painting was examined for periods of time by experts…and they really determined it is the one owned by the King of England,” Scaglione said.

For more art news, follow Park West Gallery on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • The Story Behind Anatoly Metlan’s Flamenco Dancers

    Grace, poise, energy—these are the qualities one finds in skilled dancers around the world, and are almost impossible to capture in a work of art.Almost.While historically known for his beautiful ...
    Read More
  • Collect Unique Romero Britto Artwork During Our Limited-Time Sale

    Chances are you’ve seen Romero Britto’s instantly recognizable style during your travels, but odds are you’ve never seen this many unique Britto paintings in one place.Park West Gallery just ...
    Read More
  • Enjoy Art Auctions Aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas

    If you’re a fan of Royal Caribbean art auctions, something big is on the horizon.This April marks the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Symphony of the ...
    Read More
  • Daniel Wall Follows His Heart in His New Spring Collection

    Spring is that special time when flowers bloom and love is in the air, and artist Daniel Wall is one of the rare artists who can uniquely capture the ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn to Showcase Art at 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Not long after enjoying the Olympics in his native country of South Korea, artist Dominic Pangborn received an unexpected phone call from 2018 Paralympics officials.“They had talked about doing ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Lucy Orbell

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our art teams, underscoring our 49-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a chance to ...
    Read More
  • Music Legend Gary Puckett Transforms Park West VIP Events Into Concerts to Remember

    When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a ...
    Read More
  • The Surrealistic Art of Peter Max: How His Style Made Him an Art...

    Peter Max is ...
    Read More
  • Park West and Scott Jacobs Help Raise Funds for Young Musicians

    When Park West Gallery teams up with its artists for a good cause, they make great music together.Park West Gallery helped raise $7,000 for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s music ...
    Read More
  • 5 Facts You May Not Know About Yaacov Agam

    Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is a groundbreaking pioneer of the kinetic art movement. As such, art lovers around the world are familiar with his transformative artwork and art installations ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

    More than 150 years ago, Pierre-Auguste Renoir persevered financial hardship and ridicule from critics to become one of the most famous artists in history and a central figure in ...
    Read More
  • Cruise Ship Art Auctioneer Founds Charity, Builds Much-Needed School in Zambia

    As Park West Art Auctioneer Naomi Baldwin traveled through Southern Africa, she was shocked by how many children were playing in the streets during school hours.She quickly discovered that ...
    Read More