From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Louvre Abu Dhabi to Display Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi'


The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs Wrote the Book (Literally)


The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs Wrote the Book (Literally)

With the publication of her debut novel, the musician sings the praises of trying...

A Dinner Date With Michael Stipe


A Dinner Date With Michael Stipe

Over a meal at one of his favorite restaurants in New York City, the former R.E.M....

Architecting the Future


Architecting the Future

Visionary architect Bjarke Ingels on the ever-nearing shape of tomorrow.

In October, when Christie’s announced that it would be auctioning off Salvator Mundi, the last known Leonardo da Vinci painting still in private hands, the art world reacted with a mix of awe and trepidation. Would the buyer share the work with the public? Or would he or she squirrel it away in a tax-free, climate-controlled warehouse in Switzerland?

The questions only intensified after Christie’s global president, Jussi Pylkannen, struck his gavel to certify a record-shattering $450-million bid from an unknown buyer. Last week, New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick solved the art world’s most pressing mystery when he traced the purchase to a little-known Saudi prince name Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

Days later, it was announced that Salvator Mundi, a portrait of Christ as savior of the world, would join the collection of the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. Today, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed that the painting will be displayed alongside Da Vinci's La Belle Ferronière, one of several masterpieces on loan from the Louvre in Paris, including Edouard Manet’s Fife player.

The Emirati capital marks the endpoint of a remarkable, 500-year shaggy-dog journey that took Salvator Mundi from Leonardo’s studio in Italy to the collection of England’s ill-fated Charles I, to Buckingham Palace (then Buckingham House), and—after changing hands a few more times—to complete obscurity. By 1958, when it appeared in a postwar auction in London, it was so thoroughly and ineptly overpainted that nobody recognized it as a Da Vinci; it sold for £45 before disappearing again. It was only authenticated (and fully restored) in the last decade.

When the Louvre loans return to Paris, Salvator Mundi will remain behind as the jewel of Abu Dhabi’s collection.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.