This Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece may be riding da waves.
“Salvator Mundi” — the rare painting whose whereabouts have been shrouded in secrecy since it sold for a record-busting $450 million in 2017 — is being kept on the superyacht of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Artnet.com reported on Monday.
The evocative work, dubbed the “male Mona Lisa” because of its similarities to the iconic painting, was said to have been purchased by another prince, acting as a proxy for bin Salman at the Christie’s auction.
The 500-year-old painting was reportedly gifted to Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, so that it could be displayed at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi. But the September 2018 exhibit was delayed indefinitely.
It was also pledged as a loan to the actual Louvre in Paris for an upcoming exhibit to mark the 500 years since da Vinci’s death — but was pulled from that show.
Then it disappeared.
Turns out, the work was whisked to bin Salman’s yacht the Serene, Artnet reported, citing two sources.
As of May 26, the yacht was floating in the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian resort town on the Sinai Peninsula, according to Bloomberg ship tracking data.
The painting will remain on board the 439-foot boat until the Saudis create a planned cultural hub in the Al-Ula region, which Artnet described as “basically an art Disneyland.”
According to a Telegraph report, the Louvre had insisted on attributing “Salvator Mundi” — whose authenticity has been questioned — to “the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci” instead of the Renaissance master himself.
No longer attributing the painting solely to da Vinci would diminish its value substantially, perhaps influencing the decision to keep the work in-house.
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