NY Times reports Saudi prince was buyer of ‘last da Vinci’

Prince Bader, purchaser of da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, at The Holy Mosque in Makkah 2015. Photo by Alhawi kh,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

LONDON – (ACNI) A New York Times article by David D. Kirkpatrick states that the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the last privately owned work by the Renaissance master, was a “little-known Saudi prince from a remote branch of the [Saudi] royal family.” He is identified as Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud and is said to be a close friend of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the only privately held da Vinci painting in the world, was auctioned at Christie’s New York on Nov. 15, 2017 for $450.3 million. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2017

Prince Bader, who paid $450.3 million for the da Vinci masterpiece, has no documented history as an art buyer and joins a growing list of Middle Eastern governments and royal family members that have purchased record-setting artworks over the past few years.

In 2015 Qatar’s former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, paid $179.4 million for Pablo Picasso’s Woman from Algiers. One year earlier, the State of Qatar purchased Paul Gauguin’s When Will You Marry for $300 million. Their acquisitions of major Western art began in 2011 with Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players, for which they paid $250 million.

Salvator Mundi is the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction. Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the painting is destined for The Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Read more from the New York Times.

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