Where is the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s missing Da Vinci painting?
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is celebrating its second anniversary, however what happened to a promised prize exhibit – featuring an original Da Vinci painting – remains a mystery.
The world’s most expensive painting – Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi – was destined to go on display last year, in September 2018.
But Abu Dhabi postponed the hanging, for reasons unknown.
The famous artwork has not been seen in public since back in 2017 at a Christie’s auction, where it was purchased for US$450 million.
Asked whether or not the piece would go on display, museum head Manuel Rebate said it was "a question for the city". The Department of Culture and Tourism said back in December 2017 that it had secured the work, which dates back to around 1500.
The painting depicts a religious figure, blessing the world with one hand while holding a globe in the other. It is the last known Da Vinci painting in the hands of a private collector.
It is unknown who now owns the painting, nor why it was never exhibited. The fact that it has not been seen in over a year has led some art critics to speculate on the paintings authenticity.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened up two years ago with more than 600 pieces, including statues and works from early Mesopotamia. Under a 30-year agreement, the Louvre in France provides the cultural expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for a set fee.
The first works on loan from its Parisian counterpart included another Da Vinci painting, La Belle Ferronniere.