The winning bidder in an electrifying auction was the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who intended the work to hang in the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Since the sale, the painting hasn’t been seen, and there has been much speculation about its location and why it has remained hidden from public view.
Its exhibition at the Louvre to celebrate the 500th anniversary of da Vinci's death would have marked the Salvator Mundi’s big debut. But writer and art historian Ben Lewis, author of a new tell-all about the painting, The Last Leonardo, says his sources indicate that that won’t be happening.
Lewis explains that if the Louvre were to hang the Salvator Mundi, they would want to attribute the painting the workshop of da Vinci, rather than the artist himself. The painting's valuation is largely based on its being attributed to the Renaissance master. Should the Louvre make their doubts public in this way, the value of the Salvator Mundi would take a nose-dive, from $450 million to an estimated $1.5 million.