PARIS – The “lost” painting by Leonardo da Vinci “The Savior of the World” (Salvator Mundi), which was sold for a record 450 million dollars in 2017, was discovered to be on the yacht of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, known in western press as MBS. This was revealed in a June 10th report on the portal Artnet.com with reference to two sources.
According to journalists of the publication, the work of Leonardo da Vinci was transported to the yacht Serene by plane of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed. According to Bloomberg, on May 26th, the ship was located not far from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Red Sea. According to sources, the painting will remain on the yacht until the construction of the cultural center in Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia is completed. According to the website, work can take up to five years.
The work “Savior of the World” by Leonardo da Vinci previously belonged to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. In 2017, he sold the painting at Christie’s for a record $ 450 million. The name of the buyer was not known at the time. Later, the local offices of the French Louvre in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, said that the “Savior of the World” would be transferred to the museum’s collection on loan.
The “disappearance” of the picture in March of 2019 was reported by The New York Times. Museum staff told reporters they did not know where the work of the Italian master was. The Louvre expressed the hope that the whereabouts of the painting “will be known” in the coming months and visitors can see it at an exhibition, timed to the 500th anniversary of the death of the world famous artist. It will open in Paris on October 24th.
The ‘fiasco’ raises questions about the private ownership of matters of cultural heritage, and the rights of individuals to possess these. Likewise and at the same time, France and England – through public institutes and through private parties – possess any number of valuable historic and religious artifacts, including works of art, from parts of the former Ottoman Empire that came under their control in the first decades of the 20th century.