The Mystery Buyer of a $450 Million Leonardo da Vinci Painting Was a Saudi Prince
December 6, 2017 7:39 PM PST
The new owner of Salvator Mundi
, the Leonardo da Vinci
painting that broke auction house records
when it was sold for $450 million last month, has been revealed as the Saudi Arabian prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.
Bader bin Abdullah was identified in documents
reviewed by the New York Times
as the buyer of the painting, which was sold at Christie’s in New York on Nov. 15. The prince is not a previously known art collector, the Times
reports, and the sources of his wealth are not publicly known, but he is a close associate of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman
, whose far-reaching anti-corruption purge
last month cleared the way to the Saudi throne.
has a controversial history
, with at least one expert doubting that it is the work of Renaissance master da Vinci. It once belonged to King Charles I of England and disappeared for centuries before resurfacing in 1958, having undergone heavy repainting. It was sold for just thousands in 2005 but was bought again in 2013 for $127.5 million by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Christie’s called the painting’s reemergence
“the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century.”
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Little is known about Bader bin Abdullah, who lists his primary source of income as real estate. He will pay for the painting
in six monthly installments of $58 million, according to the Times.