How the Mysterious Da Vinci Buyer Is Related to Saudi's Crown Prince

08 Декабря, 2017, 03:51 | Author: Benny Bass
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American officials are keeping close tabs on the crown prince, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.

For weeks, the buyer's identity remained unknown but on Wednesday, records uncovered by the New York Times finally revealed Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud as the affluent art aficionado.

Salvator Mundi - dated to around 1500 - is the last known Da Vinci in the hands of a private collector. However, Prince Bader attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time or along with Prince Mohammed. A depiction of any prophet in the Quran including Jesus who is an accepted Muslim prophet and precursor to Mohammed would be considered unholy. It had been speculated, however, that the buyer might have hailed from the Middle East, particularly following posts on social media earlier today announcing that the painting was making its way to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions.

But Prince Bader is a longtime friend of the crown prince, and he appears to have acted as an agent for him on at least one previous occasion, in the commission of an elaborate resort complex for a half-dozen princes in Prince Mohammed's immediate family.

The Journal reported that Bader was the nominal buyer, but said MBS was identified in U.S. intelligence reports as the true owner.

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The Louvre has not disclosed whether it will receive the painting as a gift, a loan or a rental.

A member of Christie's staff takes a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting in London October 24, 2017. Its rediscovery was followed by six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document its authenticity with the world's leading authorities on the works and career of da Vinci.

It then disappeared until 1900 when it was acquired by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by Leonardo's follower, Bernardino Luini, for the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.

The work was sold to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev who purchased the da Vinci painting for $127.5 million in 2013.

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