Louvre Abu Dhabi to reveal da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' in fall
Leonardo da Vinci's famous "Salvator Mundi" will be unveiled to the public at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on September 18, the museum said this week.
The museum announced in December 2017 that it would house the masterpiece, after it sold for $450.3 million, making it the world's most expensive painting.
Depicting Jesus in Renaissance-style clothing, "Salvator Mundi" is set to be the Louvre Abu Dhabi's biggest attraction.
The museum, which opened in the United Arab Emirates capital in November 2017, is the Paris Lourve's first outpost outside France.
The portrait became the highest-priced artwork ever to sell at auction after an anonymous buyer phoned in the record-breaking bid at a Christie's auction in New York in November 2017. It was later revealed that a lesser-known Saudi prince named Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan al-Saud made the purchase.
The Saudi government confirmed that Prince Bader, who is an associate of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was acting as a middleman for the UAE at the request of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.
"Lost and hidden for so long in private hands, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece is now our gift to the world," Mohamed Khalifa al Mubarak, Abu Dhabi's Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, said in a statement. "It belongs to all of us, who will have the chance to stand before it, and bear witness to the mastery of one of the most significant artists in living history."
Dating to approximately 1500, the portrait is one of fewer than 20 authenticated works by da Vinci in existence. The 26-inch-tall painting, which was created at around the same time as the "Mona Lisa," was commissioned by Louis XII of France.
It seemingly disappeared in the late 18th century. In 1958, the painting re-emerged but was dismissed as a copy and sold for just $60. It was later authenticated and sold for $127.5 million to its previous owner, a Russian businessman.
"Salvator Mundi" is expected to draw huge crowds, as it did during pre-auction viewings in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco.
The painting will join the museum's permanent collection of 600 artworks, which include another da Vinci painting, "La Belle Ferronnière."