A Saudi Arabian prince is the mysterious buyer who paid a record-breaking $450.3 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Jesus Christ.
Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was recently discovered to be the buyer of da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi,” The New York Times reports.
Prince Badar’s purchase of the image of Christ comes at a time when elite Saudi’s are highly concerned about an ongoing “purge” of influential national figures at the bequest of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. Badar is reportedly a close friend and confidant of the crown prince, who is already well-known for making extravagant purchases well into the hundreds of millions.
Badar was reportedly so unknown to Christie’s — the auction house in New York City that sold the painting — that the officials at the art house were still trying to confirm the prince’s identity even after he made a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction.
Badar’s purchase is interesting for a host of reasons. Muslims do not consider Jesus a savior, but rather they believe he was a prophet. The majority of Muslims also believe that depicting any religious prophet is sacrilegious.
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