$450 million Leonardo painting headed to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci

While most are scattered around the world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will now have two of these paintings.

The organization behind the museum became one of the most aggressive buyers on the global art market over the last decade.

The post displayed an image of the 500-year-old work but did not identify its owner.

The New York Times recently reported that a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, was the man responsible for buying the painting at that staggering price of $450.3 million. Christie's declined to say whether the museum bought the painting. The Louvre Abu Dhabi said in a tweet Wednesday: "Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi". 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.

The newspaper said that the work will be lent or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia. As one of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates, and the one with the largest oil reserves, Abu Dhabi is entwined in a Saudi Arabian-led dispute with neighboring Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism. The previous record was Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger, which sold for $179 million.

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The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened on November 11, has been one of the "most aggressive buyers on the global art market over the last decade", according to Bloomberg.

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.

The museum opened with about 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16bn). Da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronnière" is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris.

And while we now know where the world's most expensive painting will be housed, there have been recent indications as to the owner's identity as well.

Depicting a half-length, front-facing Christ figure grasping a crystal orb in one hand, with the other raised in a gesture of benediction, the work was put up for sale by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who had purchased it in 2013.

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