World’s Most Expensive Painting, $450 Million Portrait of Jesus Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci, Goes Missing in Abu Dhabi

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, c.1500, oil on walnut. | Photo: Public Domain

The world’s most expensive painting, a centuries old image of Jesus known as the “Salvator Mundi” attributed to legendary Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci, has disappeared in Abu Dhabi.

The painting, which was purchased for $450 million in 2017 by Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, is now missing, The New York Times reports.

Al-Saud is believed to have acted as a proxy for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was named the new Saudi Culture Minister in 2018.

The Abu Dhabi culture department announced about a month after the painting was purchased that it would be displayed in the world-class Louvre Abu Dhabi museum. But a scheduled unveiling of the painting last September was canceled without explanation, the Times said.

Officials with the culture department are now refusing to answer questions about the painting, but “staff of the Louvre Abu Dhabi say privately that they have no knowledge of the painting’s whereabouts,” the report notes.

And while art experts are hoping that the painting will resurface soon, some argue that depriving the world of the work would be “tragic.”

“It is tragic,” Dianne Modestini, a professor at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and a conservator who has worked on “Salvator Mundi,” told The New York Times. “To deprive the art lovers and many others who were moved by this picture — a masterpiece of such rarity — is deeply unfair.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair