Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is Going to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

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Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is Going to the Louvre Abu Dhabi

But The New York Times reported that, according to documents it reviewed, the mystery buyer was a little-known Saudi prince.

Painted in oil on a wooden board measuring 18 by 26 inches, "Salvator Mundi" shows its subject gazing dreamily at the viewer, his right hand raised in benediction, while his left clutches a crystal orb.

A Saudi prince has been revealed as the buyer of the world's most expensive painting, priced at a staggering $450 million in an auction at the world-famous Christie's Auction House in November.

Although Prince Badar did not respond to The Times' detailed request for comment, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi - a museum in the United Arab Emirates - tweeted Wednesday that the "Salvator Mundi" was "coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi", The Times said.

Members of Christie's staff pose for pictures next to Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting in London, October 24, 2017. Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums in China and the Middle East.

The highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction had been $179.4m for Pablo Picasso's painting Women of Algiers (Version O).

Abu Dhabi opened its Louvre last month, positioning itself as a city of cultural tourism with a display of hundreds of works that it hopes will draw visitors from around the world.

The island will also feature the Zayed National Museum, which had signed a loan deal with the British Museum - although the arrangement has come increasingly into question due to construction delays. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organizes exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16 billion).

During last month's auction, Salvator Mundi or Savior of the World was described by Alan Wintermute, a spokesperson for Christie's auction house, as the greatest art discovery of the 21 century.

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by the Renaissance master known to exist and the only one in private hands.

Bidding was strong for the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

In 2013, Salvator Mundi was bought by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.

The painting was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005 by a group of art dealers for less than $10,000.

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