World's most costly painting found on Saudi prince's yacht

Mohammed bin Salman

Mohammed bin Salman

There are many questions surrounding the world's most expensive painting, Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, after it was sold for a record-smashing US$450m at Christie's NY salesroom in 2017.

Artnet.com, citing two "principals involved in the transaction", reported Monday that the Da Vinci painting is being kept on board of superyacht Serene owned by the Saudi crown prince.

The whereabouts of the painting, which several experts dispute is by the Italian master himself, has been a mystery since it was sold for $450m at an auction in NY in 2017. Another Saudi prince was said to have purchased the 500-year-old painting on MBS' behalf at a 2017 Christie's auction, the New York Times reported previously. Christie's declined to verify that portray.

The "Salvator Mundi" (Latin for Saviour of the World), which has been at the centre of a storm of controversy over suggestions that it was painted by one of Leonardo's assistants and not the man himself, had been due to go on display at a Middle East outpost of Paris's Louvre gallery last September.

Floating around at sea might not be the most appropriate location for an artistic masterpiece, but it looks like that is where the "Salvator Mundi" is set to stay for the foreseeable future. The painting produced by Leonardo da Vinci's studio but not by the master, was bought by #Saudi CP MBS for a foolish sum of $450 million as a gift to Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, is now adorning his $550 million yacht.

Schachter later wrote that the painting will remain onboard the massive yacht until it is relocated to the Al-Ula governorate, which Saudi Arabia is aiming to transform into a culture and tourism destination.

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