Saudi prince bought record-breaking $450 million Da Vinci painting

Lawrence Kim
December 8, 2017

According to the New York Times, the buyer is a little-known prince from Saudi Arabia. Prince Bader is close to Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who recently had hundreds of the country's princes, businessmen, and government officials arrested, accusing them of having made billions illicitly.

The new owner of table Salvator Mundi, an interpretation of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci, is Saudi Arabian Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Farhan al Saud, according to an investigation of NY Times.

It is the first of three museums slated to open on the emirate's Saadiyat Island, with plans also in place for an edition of New York's Guggenheim.

Auction house Christie's has also steadfastly declined to identify the buyer, whose purchase in NY for $450.3 million stunned the art world.

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 French weekly le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting's purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums. When King Salman appointed Prince Mohammed to overlook most of the governmental activities, Prince Bader was asked to take over high positions by the prince.

Christie's representatives attempted to identify Prince Bader and his source of finances before the sale, after he gave a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction, The Times said.

The report went on to describe the family of Prince Bader.

Prince Bader reportedly claimed real estate was his main source of finance.

He and Prince Mohammed, 32, both attended King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time. Prince Bader splurged on this controversial and decidedly un-Islamic portrait of Christ at a time when most members of the Saudi elite, including some in the royal family, are cowering under a sweeping crackdown against corruption and self-enrichment.

"Congratulations", Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This could be because Prince Mohammed is a supporter and ally of Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. In addition, according to Energy Holdings ' energy Group portal, from whose governing body Prince Bader is vice-president, Saudi Arabia would have business in telecommunications, real-estate, energy and recycling sectors.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article