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Saudi prince buyer of da Vinci painting

ABU DHABI: A little-known Saudi prince from a remote branch of the royal family, with no history as a major art collector and no publicly-known source of great wealth, is the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's painting Salvator Mundi, which fetched a record US$450.3 million (S$607 million) at auction last month, documents show.

The New York Times reported that it was bought by Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

The Saudi Crown Prince is a close ally of his counterpart in Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions. "Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi," the museum tweeted, displaying an image of the 500-year-old work.

The painting was sold last month in New York, with auction house Christie's steadfastly declining to identify the buyer.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on Nov 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as a "bridge between civilisations". - AFP

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