Louvre Abu Dhabi to display Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi'

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The new branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi will exhibit Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ, ‘Salvator Mundi’, which at $450.3 million became the most expensive painting ever sold at a New York auction last month.

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“Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is coming to #Louvre Abu Dhabi,” Louvre Abu Dhabi said on its twitter feed late on Wednesday.

It did not say whether the piece would be on permanent display nor did it shed any light on the buyer’s identity.

A museum spokesperson said it had no further comment at this stage.

The New York Times reported that the winner of the sale at Christie’s on Nov. 15 was a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, citing documents provided to the newspaper from inside Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi opened its Louvre last month, positioning itself as a city of cultural tourism with a display of hundreds of works that it hopes will draw visitors from around the world.

Surrounded by water on three sides, the museum houses 600 artworks it has acquired alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions in its 23 permanent galleries.

The artists range from Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombly.

The Museum already houses one of Leonardo’s finest works.

The Renaissance master’s ‘La Belle Ferronniere’, or Portrait of an Unknown Woman, done between 1495 and 1499 and recently restored, is on loan from the Musee du Louvre in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron was the guest of honor at the opening, along with other heads of state.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Ken Ferris