Christie's employees pose in front of Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: The Salvator Mundi, a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece now famed to be the most expensive painting sold in the world, will be on display at the  Louvre Abu Dhabi from September 18 onwards.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, June 27, by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

The Da Vinci painting is one of fewer than 20 know surviving paintings by the Italian Renaissance master, and is reportedly his final known work to enter into the collection of a cultural institution. As reported by Gulf News in December 2017, the piece was acquired for the Louvre Abu Dhabi at a record price of $450 million (Dh1.65 billion).

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“The Salvator Mundi highlights the inclusive nature of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s narrative and Abu Dhabi’s mission to promote a message of acceptance, and openness. It is an opportunity for Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors from around the world to engage with a rare and iconic work of great cultural significance at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Lost and hidden for so long in private hands, Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece is now our gift to the world,” said Mohammad Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department.

“It belongs to all of us, who will have the chance to stand before it, and bear witness to the mastery of one of the most significant artists in living history. [Da Vinci’s] Salvator Mundi [also] represents an important chapter in the history of art, and offers a fully-rounded view of his artistic output. It will play a significant role in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s curatorial narrative, representing a critical moment of historical change that illuminates social evolution at that time,” Al Mubarak added.

Dating from around 1500, Salvator Mundi is an oil-on-panel painting, executed onto a walnut panel, depicting a half-length figure of Christ as Saviour of the World. The subject faces the viewer, and is dressed in flowing robes of lapis and crimson. The figure holds a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right hand in benediction. It is believed to be a contemporary of both Da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière and the Mona Lisa.

As a matter of fact, the Louvre Abu Dhabi also currently displays La Belle Ferronniere, an oil painting depicting an unknown woman that is on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris.