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Will Saudi Arabia unveil Salvator Mundi, its hidden da Vinci?

Since it bought the most expensive painting in the world three years ago, Saudi Arabia has kept it out of sight. Today, we're learning a little bit more.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia participated in reviving one of the greatest mysteries of the art world by acquiring Salvator Mundi for $450 million, an unpublished painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and exhumed after five centuries gone. Since then, the kingdom has kept the most expensive painting in the world hidden, fuelling all kinds of discussions about this painting with its enigmatic history.


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⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Tesoro: 👉 Salvator Mundi / 1499 d.C. Artista: 🇮🇹 Leonardo Da Vinci (attribuito) Luogo:📍??????? Foto: 📸 @tesori_italiani Tag: 🔑#tesori_italiani Fam: @archaeology_treasures | @europe_treasures 🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹 🇮🇹 Il Salvator mundi è un dipinto a olio su tavola (66×46 cm) attribuito a #LeonardodaVinci, databile al 1499 circa. #Cristo è raffigurato frontalmente e a mezza figura, mentre leva la mano destra per benedire e nella sinistra tiene il globo, simbolo del suo potere universale. Durante il restauro è emersa una qualità pittorica ben superiore alle aspettative, con una ricchezza cromatica paragonabile all'Ultima Cena, soprattutto gli azzurri e i rossi del panneggio. Un confronto con i pigmenti della Vergine delle Rocce della National Gallery ha dato esiti positivi circa la compatibilità. Voi che ne pensate? 🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹 🇬🇧 The Salvator Mundi is an oil painting on panel (66×46 cm) attributed to #Leonardo #daVinci, dating to about 1499. Christ is portrayed straight, raising his right hand to bless and holding a globe on the left, symbol of his universal power. During the restoration a pictorial quality far exceeded the expectations, with a color richness comparable to the Last Supper, especially the blues and reds of the drapery. A comparison with the pigments of the National Gallery of the Virgin of the Rocks gave positive results on compatibility. What do you think? 🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹 ⠀ 🏛Aiutaci a far conoscere il nostro Patrimonio🏛 🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹🔸🔹 #beniculturali #italia #beniculturali30 #christies #cultura #arte #salvatormundi #musee #artwork #pittura #art #italy #italianart #volgoarte #sothebys #masterpiece #renaissance

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Before the Saudis bought it, Salvator Mundi, Christ the Redeemer with a vague gaze emerging from the darkness, blessing the world, holding in his left hand a crystal globe, had fallen into darkness for decades.

Recent history

It was discovered in 2005 by two New York art dealers at an auction in Louisiana. It was first attributed to a follower of Da Vinci before the National Gallery in London authenticated it. It is then given to a Russian oligarch, who will sell it at Christie’s in 2017. Subsequently, the turmoil that followed its attribution and its record selling price only added to the notoriety of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting.


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🎨 Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci – $450.3 Million ⠀ Leonardo da Vinci’s depiction of Jesus Christ holding a crystal orb is the most expensive painting in the world! ⠀ ✨ The painting was commissioned by King Louis XII of France in 1605, during the same period as the Mona Lisa. However, somewhere between 1763 and 1900, it disappeared from all records until it was rediscovered in 2005, by a group of British art dealers who bought the painting for $10,000 and spent six years restoring and investigating its history before eventually announcing that it was a Da Vinci original. ⠀ 💎 The painting was exhibited in 2011 by the National Gallery of London and became known as the “Lost Leonardo”, as it was the first discovery of a Da Vinci since 1909. The “Savior of the World” (Salvator Mundi) was purchased by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism.

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Today, some answers are beginning to emerge. The kingdom plans to preserve the masterpiece until it can be unveiled in a new museum built for the occasion, explains Culture Minister Hammed Bin Mohammed Fayez, according to comments collected in Riyadh by the Wall Street Journal.

“If da Vinci is part of our national heritage, we will of course exhibit it,” Mr. Carboni, head of the kingdom’s museum commission, who helped head the Islamic department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before joining the kingdom’s ministry of culture at the end of February, told the Wall Street Journal.

Winds of Change

If a few years ago art, cinemas, operas, and rock concerts were still taboo, that’s all over now. A spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Culture told the Wall Street Journal that “opening up to tourism and developing relationships with international partners in the art world encourages the establishment of the kingdom as a cultural destination”.


To promote the arts in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman called on Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed to create and lead his country’s first Ministry of Culture and strengthen ties with the international art world. Prince Bader has purchased major works of art at auctions, including works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama and David Hockney. An effort to diversify the country’s economy.