Lonely Planet Writer

See the most expensive painting in the world at newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi

The just-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi,” which was recently bought at auction for $450 million, the highest price ever paid for a work of art.

Christie’s employees pose in front of a painting entitled Salvator Mundi by Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Image by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

Considered to be one of the best rediscoveries of art, the 16th century painting depicts Christ in Renaissance-style clothing holding a crystal sphere in his left hand and giving a sign of the benediction with his right. It was previously believed to have been painted by one of Da Vinci’s students but later turned out to be from the master himself, and it’s now one of just 20 paintings generally accepted as painted by Da Vinci.

Louvre-Abu-Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exterior with Abu Dhabi’s skyline (night) Image by Louvre Abu Dhabi/Mohamed Somji

This painting was thought to be copy of the lost original, and it once sold for just £45 at an auction in 1958. It was later deemed to be the original and was unveiled at a temporary exhibition at the National Gallery in London in 2011.

Abu Dhabi’s art scene got a huge boost when the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 2017, an event that’s been ten years in the making. It’s not yet known when “Salvator Mundi” will be on display, but it’s expected to be a huge hit for the month-old gallery. The Louvre Abu Dhabi also has Da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronnière” in its collection, which is on loan from the Louvre in Paris.