Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi
Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ was rediscovered by a small group of American dealers in 2005. It later sold at Christie’s New York in 2017 for a record-breaking $450m (including premium).

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The painting of Christ as the saviour of the world, which sold for $450m (including premium) at Christie’s New York in November last year, was due to go on show at the museum on September 18.

No date has yet been given as to when it will be finally exhibited, although the Abu Dhabi department tweeted that “more details will be announced soon”.

Abu Dhabi’s newspaper The National suggested that the museum may wait for its one-year anniversary on November 11 and also that scholars were still trying to work out the full details of its ownership history ahead of it going on display. Last month researchers indicated that the painting may have been in the possession of Duke of Hamilton between 1638-41, rather than in the Greenwich apartments of Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I.

After going on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the painting is due to appear at the Louvre in Paris in its Leonardo exhibition opening in October 2019. It will then go back to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for permanent display.

Back in November at the Christie’s auction, two phone bidders pushed up the price as they battled it out for the Leonardo painting until it was eventually knocked down at $400m ($450m with premium).

In December, the successful bidder was widely reported to be Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. Although there was some confusion as to whether he was buying on the behalf of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, an article in the Wall Street Journal reported a Saudi official saying that he was in fact “an intermediary purchaser" for Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism.

The price was the highest price ever for an artwork sold at auction, easily surpassing the previous record of $160m (hammer price) set by Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger (Verion O) in 2015.