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

  • Patrick Guyton’s Gilded Art Shines in New Limited-Time Fall Sale Collection

    Veiled women, tranquil koi ponds, and graceful birds—these are just some of the zen-like images you’ll encounter in the gilded world of artist Patrick Guyton.You can enter this shimmering ...
    Read More
  • What Are Etchings and How Are Etchings Made?

    Etchings have been hugely influential in art history, particularly in the development of printmaking.The art of etching is one of the oldest printmaking mediums—originating in the 15th century and evolving ...
    Read More
  • Judges Reveal Their Top 5 Finalists for 2018 MI Great Artist Competition

    Five Michigan artists have been chosen as finalists, but only one will be named 2018’s MI Great Artist.After much deliberation, a panel of expert judges has narrowed down a ...
    Read More
  • How Artist Slava Ilyayev Brings Modern-Day Impressionism to Life

    Collectors around the world love the remarkably textured paintings of acclaimed artist Slava Ilyayev. While his style is uniquely his own, Ilyayev regularly cites Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Slava Ilyayev

    For artist Slava Ilyayev, it’s not just about expressing color—it’s about feeling.Much like the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists that influence him, Ilyayev creates art to express feeling and emotions. Specifically, ...
    Read More
  • See If You’re an Art Aficionado with Our Fall Sale Art Quiz

    With Park West's 2018 Fall Sale in full swing, it's time to get to know our featured art and artists with our new art quiz!As the largest privately-owned art ...
    Read More
  • What Makes a Master Artist? Meet 7 Legendary Masters in Our New Video

    Read More
  • MI Great Artist Announces First-Ever People’s Choice Winner, Top 35 Artists

    MI Great Artist has announced its 35 semi-finalists for 2018—including one lucky “People’s Choice” winner who automatically moves to the competition’s final round.Sponsored by Park West Gallery and Michigan’s Oakland ...
    Read More
  • See How Artist Slava Ilyayev Creates His Unbelievably Textured Paintings

    When people first encounter a painting by Slava Ilyayev, one of their most common questions is "How does he do that?"There is a level of texture and color in ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Ron Agam

    Ron Agam started his career as an artist later in life, but has made up for lost time with bold, exciting art that evokes movement and contemplation.He readily admits ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Alex O’Rafferty and Candi Hanson

    At Park West, we know one thing for certain—our collectors love our onboard Art Teams.We hear it all the time. When people attend our auctions and art events on cruise ...
    Read More
  • Autumn de Forest Paints First-Ever Mural at Miami’s Wynwood Walls

    Having already exhibited her art in prevalent museums and galleries by the age of 16, art prodigy Autumn de Forest added some street cred to her impressive resume by ...
    Read More