The museum, which was recently opened in the United Arab Emirates’ capital as part of a 30-year agreement between Abu Dhabi’s authorities and the French government, will host the only da Vinci’s painting in private hands.
Louvre Abu Dhabi announced that it will display a 500-year-old painting of Jesus Christ that has been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
The work, titled Salvator Mundi or “Saviour of the World” was sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev at the auction house Christie’s.
The painting’s sale yielded some $450 million, thrice the price of $127.5 million that Rybovlev paid in 2013.
READ MORE: Leonardo Da Vinci Painting of Christ Sells for Historic $450Mln
It constitutes the highest price that was ever paid at the auction for any work of art, beating Willem de Kooning’s Interchange, a painting that was sold for $303 million in 2015.
The painting, however, has been subject to a major controversy, since a number of art experts have come forward to allege that hadn’t been painted by da Vinci.
New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz argued that “one look at this painting tells me it’s no Leonardo,” though he admitted that he is “no art historian or any kind of expert in old masters.”
“Not only does it look like a dreamed-up version of a missing da Vinci, various X-ray techniques show scratches and gouges in the work, paint missing, a warping board, a beard here and gone, and other parts of the painting obviously brushed up and corrected to make this probable copy look more like an original,” Saltz said.
The identity of the buyer also remains a mystery, as Louvre Abu Dhabi did not specify whether it had purchased the alleged da Vinci painting.
According to the New York Times, the buyer is a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, a close friend of the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.