Leonardo's Salvator Mundi heads to The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Leonardo's Salvator Mundi heads to The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The nature of the painting - a rendition of Christ - and the timing of the purchase - less than two weeks after the corruption purge - calls into question whether the Crown Prince has been selectively targeting people in the crackdown, The Times reported.

But now the painting, which has been mired in controversy over its authenticity, will become the big draw at the Louvre Abu Dhabi - supposedly its answer to the Louvre Paris' seminal work, the Mona Lisa.

But Bader has apparently been left alone, and some speculate it's because he's a close friend of Prince Mohammed.

The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.

The unprecedented price - almost three times the previous record at auction for Pablo Picasso's painting Women of Algiers in May 2015 - led to speculation that the buyer was backed by Middle Eastern wealth.

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.

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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.

The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia.

News that the painting will turn up at the Louvre Abu Dhabi does not resolve the mystery surrounding the identity of the buyer or buyers, though some had speculated that it was acquired by an Emirati museum or collector.

It was the highest auction price for any work of art.

The painting is one of fewer than 20 paintings by da Vinci known to exist and the only one in private hands.

The painting was sold again in 1958 for only 45 pounds ($60) and then was acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $10,000.

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