The Wall Street Journal: Saudi prince is reported buyer of $450 million Da Vinci painting

A Leonardo da Vinci painting that sold for a record-breaking $450 million last month may have sold to a little-known Saudi prince with a real estate fortune but scant ties to the art world.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was revealed late Wednesday as the possible mystery buyer of da Vinci’s 500-year-old “Salvator Mundi” portrait of Christ, according to the New York Times.

Bader, who has business ties to his country’s recycling and waste management industry, is a peer and close ally of Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The two men went to King Saud University in Riyadh around the same time, and Bader’s profile in Saudi Arabia has swelled since King Salman tasked Prince Mohammed with running much of the government on his behalf.

Hours before Prince Bader’s possible purchase became public, a new Emirati museum called the Louvre Abu Dhabi fueled speculation about the painting when it tweeted that it planned to display the da Vinci — but demurred on whether it had bought it or merely planned to borrow it. Christie’s also declined to confirm the buyer.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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