How the Mysterious Da Vinci Buyer Is Related to Saudi's Crown Prince

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Normally, news of a wealthy and powerful member of Saudi Arabia's royal family buying a piece of art would not raise any interest.

A Saudi prince spent $450.3m on Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Jesus Christ at a NY auction last month and it will be exhibited at the new branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud shelled out the big bucks for the art work, as reported by The New York Times.

And even before the disclosure of the record-breaking purchase in a NY art auction by one of his associates, Prince Mohammed's extravagance had already raised eyebrows, most notably with the impulse purchase two years ago in the south of France of a Russian vodka titan's 440-foot yacht, for half a billion dollars. But according to U.S. intelligence reports, Bader bought it on behalf of the crown prince, who is a distant relative. However, it is now believed that he only acted as a proxy for the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Mohammed also put Prince Bader in charge of governing a commission overseeing the development of Al Ola, which contains an important archaeological site.

The revelation of Times published this Wednesday is known on same day that it was announced that painting will be exhibited in Louvre of Abu Dhabi.

The Saudi crown prince is a close ally of his counterpart in Abu Dhabi.

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Christie's let the cat out of the bag yesterday and publically said the artwork would be going to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The choice of painting is also curious.

He is paying for the iconic painting in six installments, with at least five of them priced at more than $58million, the Times reported.

The 66-centimetre painting dates from about 1500 and shows Christ dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing, his left hand holding a crystal sphere.

A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the mystery buyer of the $450.3million Leonardo da Vinici painting of Christ that is now heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a coup for the bold new museum.

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.

The previous owner of Salvator Mundi was a Russian businessman, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased it for $127 million in 2013.

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