After a show of an advertising campaign comparable to that of a summer blockbuster movie, Christie hopes Salvator Mundi supposedly the last painting by Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, for sell everywhere $ 100 million. In a record auction, however, the painting finished for $ 450 million, eclipsing Picasso's $ 179-million Women of Ariers as the most expensive painting ever sold -and causing a a torrent of reaction as many criticized the triumph of commercialization and branding over the quality of the real work of art. It could be a precedent that does not audace well for the future of the art market.
The painting, which Sotheby & # 39; s sold for only £ 45 less than 100 years ago, has gone through the whole journey since it was first created around the year 1500, falling into the power of all, from the king Carlos I to a Russian fertilizer salesman with connections to Donald Trump. However, its most recent owner remained unknown until this week, and it turned out to be completely unknown to Christie until the day before the auction. The buyer turned out to be the superbly named Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, one of the 5,000 princes of Saudi Arabia, who has no background as a great art collector, seems to be rarely photographed, and keeps an air of secrecy when it comes to its seemingly massive wealth.
Prince Bader only presented himself as a bidder in the painting at the last minute, which, according to the Times sparked a fight at Christie's to establish his identity and financial means, even after depositing a $ 100 million deposit. Even then, Christie's lawyers continued to suspect, persisting in asking him where he got the money from and what his relationship was with the Saudi ruler, King Salman. Prince Bader's answers were as shrouded in mystery as the painting itself: the money came from "real estate," and he was "just one of the 5,000 princes" in Saudi Arabia. (So modest!)
This last detail, in fact, was far from reassuring: many Saudi princes have caused a stir in the news lately, since last month the country's government arrested more than 200 people in an offensive against corruption and embezzled funds amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, which included the selection of many of their most prominent princes. The mass purge was actually ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who organized a series of midnight arrests that included 11 of his royal cousins, who happens to be one of Prince Bader's friends and associates.
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Prince Miteb Bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Bader bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Abdullah bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz
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Hassan Ammar / Getty Images
But Prince Mohammed, whom the Times describes as the favorite son of King Salman and his principal adviser, has been criticized for his spending habits, including impulsively having spent half a trillion dollars on a yacht last year while at the same time cutting spending capital by 71 percent King Salman has also suspiciously appointed Prince Bader to lead the Saudi Research and Marketing Group and another government commission, all of which seems to make Prince Bader's revenue sources even darker as, and particularly his motivations to publicly show his mysterious wealth. in an em that can cause some cultural conflicts in your country. After all, it is a painting of Jesus. Muslims may not see Jesus as the savior, but he is still considered a prophet. The representations of any religious figure are still controversial between a faith that traditionally prohibits idolatry.
As for Prince Bader, when he is not related to Prince Mohammed, he also works on side projects, such as partnerships with those ranging from Verizon to Michael Bloomberg, as well as a great program he founded for manage the country's recycling. All that seems to have gathered enough income to be able to offer to pay for the painting in a lump sum. Christie's, however, decided that it would be better to put the Prince on a payment plan of six payments that is calculated up to the penny.
Sure, a lot about Prince Bader, not to mention Salvator Mundi in itself-remains a mystery, at least one thing is certain: although painting could end up locked a stop ] in the new Louvre Abu Dhabi . (It is not exactly known when that will happen or how long it will be in view.)
Related: All the most vicious and inquisitive attacks of Leonardo da Vinci $ 450 million in painting Salvator Mundi
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