Mystery Buyer of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi Revealed


The mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi” has been revealed to be a Saudi prince. The buyer was little known and from a remote branch of the royal family with no history as a significant art collector. The painting was purchased for a record of $450 million at an auction after about 20 minutes of bidding over the phone. But is the Salvator Mundi Real?

After some time, finally, the true identity of the buyer has been released. Saudi Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud purchased the Louvre Abu Dhabi painting.

Estimates had predicted bids of around $100 million for the piece, but the new record now far exceeds the previous $179 million set for Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” in 2015. 

A feature story on the “Salvator Mundi” discussing where the painting originated from, and if its indeed, a real Leonardo da Vinci work.

Is The Salvator Mundi a Real da Vinci?

There has been much debate about the origin of the Salvator Mundi. Whether or not Leonardo da Vinci actually created the artwork is still up for debate. Art “experts” have legitimized the painting after extensive research, but questions remain.

One expert, Frank Zollner, a German art historian has said of the painting,

This attribution is controversial primarily on two grounds. Firstly, the badly damaged painting had to undergo very extensive restoration, which makes its original quality extremely difficult to assess. Secondly, the Salvator Mundi in its present state exhibits a strongly developed sfumato technique that corresponds more closely to the manner of a talented Leonardo pupil active in the 1520s than to the style of the master himself. The way in which the painting was placed on the market also gave rise to concern.

Frank Zollner, German art historian, publisher of a complete list of accepted works by da Vinci

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis looks inside the art world in his podcast, “Against the Rules,” where he discusses the Salvator Mundi and its legitimacy. He begins discussing a few comments from someone inside the art world, specifically Thomas Hoving, the Metropolitan Museum of Art director.

Hoving once told Michael Lewis that half the famous artwork hanging in museums is not actually by the famous artist’s name attached to the works, but by an assistant, or possibly someone close to the famous artist.

The experts who attribute paintings to famous artists are incentivized to rig the game. The “referees,” as Lewis calls them, are the art experts who attribute art to certain artists and validate those works as legitimate.

It’s hard to say who’s right and who’s wrong in the fine art universe. Whether it’s fake or a real da Vinci doesn’t change the fact that someone paid $450 million very real dollars for it.

Is the Salvator Mundi a real Leonardo da Vinci or not? there’s plenty of facts to gather, but It’s up for you to decide.