The mystery buyer for the iconic painting titled "Salvator Mundi" that was sold last month at auction house Christie's in New York is Saudi royal Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, according to the New York Times.
Not only was Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi the talk of the art world, but last month's news of a record-setting $450.3 million sale at auction made headlines around the globe. According to the New York Times, the buyer is a little-known prince from Saudi Arabia. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia and his counterpart in Abu Dhabi enjoy a close working relationship and on 5 December their countries announced the formation of a Joint Cooperation Committee to formalise existing collaboration on military, political, economic and cultural matters.
Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc.
Christie's representatives attempted to identify Prince Bader and his source of finances before the sale, after he gave a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction, The Times said. The description also goes on to say Prince Bader was "active" in real estate projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the Middle East for over five years.
The sale more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers (Version O)" in 2015, also in NY.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 8 November in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described it as a "bridge between civilisations".
The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. By then, though, the painting's origin had been obscured due to overpainting and it was credited to da Vinci's follower Bernardino Luini.
At Christie's Da Vinci auction, the salesroom was full of millionaires and billionaires, including Point72 Asset Management's Steve Cohen, Blackstone Group LP's Tom Hill, who collects Old Master works, and philanthropist Eli Broad.
2011, saw the dramatic public unveiling of Salvator Mundi ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, at The National Gallery, London.
Dating from the 1500s, the painting was billed as the final Leonardo work held in private hands, one of roughly 20 paintings attributed to him. It was later purchased by art dealers, restored and eventually sold to Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.