David D Kirkpatrick: Rolling Stone

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The Louvre Abu Dhabi might seem to have all you could ask for in a world-class museum. Its acclaimed design shades its galleries under a vast dome that appears to hover over the waters of the Persian Gulf. Inside are works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, Monet and van Gogh, Mondrian and Basquiat.

Yet the work that the Louvre Abu Dhabi once promised would anchor its collection is conspicuously absent: “Salvator Mundi,” a painting of Jesus Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

Few works have evoked as much intrigue, either in the world of art or among the courts of Persian Gulf royals. First, its authenticity as the product of Leonardo’s own hand was the subject of intense debate. Then, in November 2017, it became the most expensive work ever sold at auction, fetching $450.3 million from an anonymous bidder who turned out to be a close ally and possible stand-in for the ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. …Read More

Image: A scheduled unveiling of the painting last September was canceled without explanation. The Abu Dhabi culture department is refusing to answer questions.