Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has undertaken an anti-corruption campaign, bought the painting using a distant relative as a "proxy", the newspaper said Thursday, citing a source in the US government intelligence community and a Saudi art-world figure familiar with the purchase. According to documents provided to the auction house and reviewed by The New York Times, Prince Bader listed that his fortune comes from "real estate". Prince Bader, part of a distant branch of the wealthy royal family, is not generally known as a major art collector or someone with a large source of wealth, according to The Times.
He is paying for the iconic painting in six installments, with at least five of them priced at more than $58million, the Times reported.
'Congratulations, ' Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 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.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as a 'bridge between civilizations'.
The island will also feature the Zayed National Museum, which had signed a loan deal with the British Museum - although the arrangement has come increasingly into question due to construction delays. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion). The Louvre in Abu Dhabi already has anor Da Vinci's wall, La Belle Ferronnière, lent by Louvre in Paris.
The painting Bader bought, which depicts Jesus Christ as Salvator Mundi, was not reattributed to Leonardo da Vinci until 2011.
Some maintain the painting is not by the hand of the Renaissance master da Vinci rather one of his star pupils or students.
The painting, which Sotheby's sold for a mere £45 less than 100 years ago, has gone through quite the journey since it was first created around the year 1500, falling into the possession of everyone from King Charles I to a Russian fertilizer salesman with connections to Donald Trump.