Disputed Da Vinci painting shows up on Saudi crown prince’s superyacht

A Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, purchased for a cool $450 million in 2017, allegedly on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has turned up on a large yacht owned by the prince himself.

The mysterious public sale was performed by phone and Christie’s did not verify the customer’s identification — however later, the ‘Salvator Mundi’ was “whisked away in the middle of the night on MBS’ plane” and relocated to his yacht, the Serene, two unnamed sources advised the web site Artnet.com.

The sources additionally stated that the painting had been paid for, regardless of rumors circulating within the artwork world that the invoice had solely been partially settled.

The painting, which was anticipated to be exhibited on the Louvre in France later this yr, disappeared after suspicions have been raised that the work had come from “the workshop” of Da Vinci and will not have been painted by the artist himself — one thing which its new guardians knew may downgrade its worth considerably.

The superyacht in query was initially owned by Russian tycoon Yuri Shefler, however was offered (reportedly on the spot) to MBS for $500 million in 2016 — not earlier than having been rented out to Bill Gates for $5 million every week, nevertheless. Much just like the yacht, the painting was additionally beforehand owned by a Russian billionaire, who purchased it for a measly $127.5 million in 2013.

Floating round at sea may not be essentially the most acceptable location for a creative masterpiece, but it surely appears to be like like that’s the place the ‘Salvator Mundi’ is about to remain for the foreseeable future. At least till the Saudis open a brand new cultural hub within the nation’s Al-Ula area, Artnet stated.

As of May 26, the Serene was positioned within the Red Sea off the coast of Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh, in keeping with Bloomberg.

The ‘Salvator Mundi’ dates from round 1500 and shows Christ wearing Renaissance-style robes together with his proper hand raised in blessing and carrying a crystal sphere in his left hand.