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£350m Leonardo Da Vinci painting ‘being kept’ aboard Saudi crown prince’s superyacht

Leonardo Da Vinci painting Salvator Mundi, which has not been located since it sold in 2017 for a record £350 million (c. $444.5m), has reportedly been installed on the superyacht of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The 500-year-old painting – the authenticity of which has been shrouded in controversy – is now said to be on board the 134-metre (440-foot) superyacht Serene.

On Monday, Artnet.com claimed that Salvator Mundi was “whisked away in the middle of the night on MBS’s plane and relocated to his yacht, the Serene”, citing two anonymous “principals involved in the transaction”.

Salvator Mundi will remain aboard Serene until the Saudis create a planned cultural hub in the Kingdom’s Al-Ula region, Artnet reported.

According to a spokesman for the commission in December 2018, the project was said to be in an “exploratory phase”.

The Louvre Museum in Paris had requested the chance to borrow the artwork for an October exhibition, but it is unlikely to go ahead after experts at the museum suggested Salvator Mundi was the work of Da Vinci’s workshop rather than the artist himself.

Art historians suggested that displaying the painting would render it virtually worthless, with a value of just over £1 million (c. $1.2 million).

In September 2018, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had revealed plans to showcase Salvator Mundi, but the museum cancelled the unveiling two weeks prior to its debut with no explanation. It is understood that the doubt surrounding its authenticity were the deciding factor.

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