What’s the Deal with the Most Recent Purchase of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi 

Not only is Leonardo Da Vinci credited with being an incredible inventor with a lot of brilliant ideas, but he’s also recognised as being a master artist. His masterpieces are so impressive, in fact, that the recent sale of the “Salvator Mundi” (Savoir Of the World) by Leonardo Da Vinci shattered the previous record for a piece of artwork; selling for an incredible $450.3 million. The previous record was the painting “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning, which sold for $300 million. 

The Salvator Mundi became the only one of the less-than-20 Da Vinci masterpieces to be privately owned. The buyer of the piece of art is anonymous, meaning we don’t even know who owns it. The good news is that while the painting is privately owned now, it will be publically displayed. It is set to be exhibited at the recently-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened their doors near the end of 2017 and announced that the he painting would be displayed in an exhibit across social media platforms following the sale. The painting was sold at auction through Christie’s auction house in New York. Christie’s also extended congratulations to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

The Louvre Abu Dhabi 

The Salvator Mundi has made the art world pay attention to the brand new Louvre museum, which is the result of over a decade of hard work. The Louvre Abu Dhabi has become the key feature of the Saadiyat Island cultural district in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The museum was supported by – and received contributions from – the Agence-France Museums.  

The inauguration of the museum was attended by Arab leaders and kings, along with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. Indeed, the New York Times is speculating that the painting may have been purchased by a Saudi prince. 

The museum itself is the brainchild of former French President Jacques Chirac, who envisioned the museum as a way to combat extremism with art after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Chirac intended for the museum to be the bridge between the East and West, featuring Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Jewish artifacts. It took some time, and there was some controversy, but the museum has finally opened and now features one of the very best paintings in the world in the Salvator Mundi.  

The Return of the Old Masters 

The $450 million price-tag of the painting is one sign of many that the demand for the paintings of the old masters is on the rise. Other classic paintings were sold by the same auction house, including Saint Francis and His Brother Leo by “El Greco” Doménikos Theotokópoulos, which sold for just under $10 million. 2017 was a massive year for the Old Master auction sector, leading to a 123.1% growth year-on-year. A lot of this is down to the $450 million sale of the Da Vinci masterpiece of course, but only time will tell if the demand for the Old Masters continues.