Saudi crown prince bought $450-M Da Vinci painting: report | Inquirer Lifestyle
PRNewsFoto/Robert Simon, Tim Nighswander Use only Leonardo da Vinci Painting Discovered "Salvator Mundi," c. 1500

Saudi crown prince bought $450-M Da Vinci painting: report

The “Salvator Mundi” by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. (PRNewsFoto/Robert Simon, Tim Nighswander)



Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the actual buyer of a painting by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci that sold for a record-breaking $450 million at auction last November, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.


The young and dynamic crown prince, known by his initials MBS, used an intermediary to buy the much-sought-after painting of Christ, “Salvator Mundi,” the newspaper reported, citing US intelligence and other unnamed sources.


The son of Saudi King Salman is seen to be progressively consolidating his power, and is the architect of a wide-ranging plan dubbed Vision 2030 to bring social and economic change to his country’s oil-dependent economy.


He is also seen as the mastermind of last November’s rounding-up of more than 200 princes, ministers, and businessmen in a sweeping anti-corruption purge.


The painting – one of fewer than 20 works generally accepted as being by Da Vinci, according to auction house Christie’s – was bought by little-known Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, reports claimed.


The Journal reported that Bader was the nominal buyer, but said MBS was identified in US intelligence reports as the true owner.


“He is a proxy for MBS,” an unnamed figure in the Gulf art world told the Journal.


American officials are keeping close tabs on the crown prince, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.


On Wednesday, the Louvre Abu Dhabi announced that the record-breaking Da Vinci painting would be displayed there.


The reports come shortly after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a new military and economic committee, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council.


In recent years, Qatar has been the biggest player in the Gulf art world, but in June, Saudi Arabia and some of its allies broke off diplomatic and trade relations with Doha, which they accuse of supporting extremist movements.


“Salvator Mundi” – dated to around 1500 – is the last known Da Vinci in the hands of a private collector. It was long believed to be a copy but was finally authenticated about a dozen years ago.                       /kga

  • Perfecto

    He probably bought it to obliterate the image with a Black Marker Pen! – Surely it is ‘Haram’ for the Saudi Clown Prince to by a ‘Christian’ work of art? (For those unaware, Foreign Newspapers and Magazines are routinely censored with Black Marker Pens in Saudi Arabia, and most of the Middle East.)

    • Ricardo Abella

      Or sending message of religious tolerance?

      I support that cause.

      • Perfecto

        In a country where possessing a Bible is a Criminal Offence?

      • Ricardo Abella

        There is struggle between Royalties against religious leaders.

        Saudi Arabia and entire Musllim world lack understanding. They are far behind.

      • Perfecto

        About 600 Years! It’s only 1439 according to the Hijri Calendar!

      • cynthia

        I think other than what you have mentioned, it is more an investment and pride to be owned by a Saudi prince and displayed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi as the main featured piece of art. Probably the art museum is paying a big amount just to display it there.

    • Cubano

      they will reproduce it and distribute to all mosques in saudi…

    • Jay Martin

      Jesus is a prophet in Islam. I don’t see anything controversial with the purchase.

      • Perfecto

        Depends on your ‘Flavour’ of Islam

      • another_conservative_in_exile

        You don’t understand Islam much then. Ever see a painting or sculpture of Mohammed that didn’t result in the artist being assassinated? Mohammed’s a phophet too.

  • DarkM

    Isn’t this lavish for a prince who purges his government of corruption?

  • another_conservative_in_exile

    But islamic tradition forbids artistic imagery such as physical depictions of God or man. The Crown Prince just spent a half billion dollars on an image of the Christian God. Wow! Maybe he’s a closet Christian.

    • Islaslolo

      He is a sucker.

      • another_conservative_in_exile

        Yes it’s been so damaged and painted over throughout the centuries that there’s little DaVinci left if at all. Yes he’s a chump posing as a serious colllector.

  • Islaslolo

    I wonder if this painting was “authenticated” in order to increase its value. Many art experts doubt that it is a da Vinci.

    • sojusakitofu

      Wonder all you want, it’s free.

  • patriotic filipino® 5yearsold

    Baka ginawa yan lang dito. Hi hi hi….😂