Louvre Abu Dhabi to exhibit 'Salvator Mundi,' the world's most expensive painting

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The Art Museum of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi was opened this year in the capital of the UAE.

Dating back to approximately 1500, "Salvator Mundi" smashed auction records when it went under the hammer at Christie's NY last month.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi - a franchise of the Paris original - is a symbol of the oil-rich sheikhdom's drive to boost its "soft power" credentials.

He is paying for the iconic painting in six installments, with at least five of them priced at more than $58million, the Times reported.

The revelation that Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was the purchaser were according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.

But there's still no public information on who purchased the painting at the record-setting auction in November, when the controversial artwork went for $450.3 million USA at Christie's, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

The announcement follows the auction at Christie's NY last month where the painting fetched a premium-inclusive $450m, the highest sum ever bid for a work of art. Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums in China and the Middle East. To differentiate itself from neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi is targeting affluent tourists looking for culture and art and it has also built hotels, theme parks and malls.

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Da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are close allies.

'Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi, ' the museum said on Twitter, displaying an image of the 500-year-old work.

"We are pleased that the picture will be exhibited again", said Christie's spokesperson.

Badar was reportedly so unknown to Christie's - the auction house in New York City that sold the painting - that the officials at the art house were still trying to confirm the prince's identity even after he made a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", or "Savior of the World", dating from around 1500.

The painting was later sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it in 2013 for $US127.5 million in a private sale that became the subject of a continuing lawsuit.

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