Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened last month and now will house Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi. Image copyright Adel Al Tamimi via flickr.com

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Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was widely reported to have bought the $450m picture at Christie’s New York last month after The New York Times published an article citing documents from inside Saudi Arabia that the newspaper had reviewed.

Prince Bader was born into a lesser known branch of the House of Saud but is understood to be closely connected to the Crown Prince. Prince Bader is currently chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group but has no known history as an art collector.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, sources in the country later suggested he was buying on the behalf of the country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, although an article from Reuters later reported a Saudi official denying this was the case.

The same article reported that Christie's had now said the work was bought for Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, with Prince Bader described as "as an intermediary purchaser" by the Saudi official.

Last week, it was announced on Twitter that Salvator Mundi would be heading to The Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum was inaugurated only the week before the Christie’s auction.