...or was it...

The Louvre's announcement on Twitter that Da Vinci's final masterpiece was to go to their Abu Dhabi collection The Louvre's announcement on Twitter that Da Vinci's final masterpiece was to go to their Abu Dhabi collection

Yesterday, the rumour mill was in motion that Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi was bought by the Louvre, Abu Dhabi. Personally, I was sceptical. Instead it turned out that it was the Arab prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan al-Saud who bought the world's most expensive painting with the plan to house it in the French Museum's Abu Dhabi premises. The New York Times described the buyer as '' a little-known Saudi prince from a remote branch of the royal family, with no history as a major art collector, and no publicly known source of great wealth.''

Could another Da Vinci be out there? Experts a thinking so, especially after Christie's sale of "Salvator Mundi" two weeks ago which reached over $400 million - the highest price ever achieved at auction Could another Da Vinci be out there? Experts a thinking so, especially after Christie's sale of "Salvator Mundi" two weeks ago which reached over $400 million - the highest price ever achieved at auction

Arab prince buys "last da Vinci painting"
A few weeks ago, the world's most expensive painting, Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, was auctioned for $450.3 million. Collectors, museums and more from around the globe, but it was believed to be the Louvre who sealed the winning bid.

The Louvre's branch in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates was not exactly a shock to the art world. After the Abu Dhabi museum posted a cryptic tweet, mere hours later, the actual buyer was revealed.

Let's take a look at how the bidding went down...

Bidding for the piece lasted 19 minutes, ending with bidding being raised from $370 million to $400 million. Raising a bid buy that much could, of course, be perceived by some as irresponsible given that a museum's fund comes directly or indirectly from another means.

What was unexpected, however, was how the announcement took place. Instead of an attentive press conference, a message was sent in Arabic, English and French via the museum's Twitter account.

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Read more about the Da Vinci sale at Christie's here.

The Louvre, Paris, already has in its collections several works by the Italian master, including Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, what it probably the world's most most valuable painting. Well, it seems now that the smiling La Gioconda is in good company as Salvator Mundi  is destined for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was painted between 1503-06. It is thought by many to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini or "La Gioconda". The painting today can be seen in The Louvre, Paris. It is considered the world's most valuable painting. Image: Musée du Louvre, Paris Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was painted between 1503-06. It is thought by many to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini or "La Gioconda". The painting today can be seen in The Louvre, Paris. It is considered the world's most valuable painting.
Image: Musée du Louvre, Paris

The spectacular museum that opened to the public just a month ago has fast become one of the world's premier museums, boasting an incredible list of artists in their collection. But of course, this has come at an almighty cost. No other museum has had as high budget for purchase art and artifacts as the Abu Dhabi Louvre.

Read the full story on the sale of Salvator Mundi here.

Who was Leonardo da Vinci?

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Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in the small town of Vinci outside Tuscany. As a child, he showed great talent in music and poetry. The family eventually moved to Florence and Da Vicnci's cultural interests lead him to being taught at the age of 14 by Andrea del Verrocchio, a leading sculptor, painter and jeweller.

Leonardo was taught by Verocchio's for seven years and during this time he painted The Baptism of Christ, which today hangs in the Uffizians in Florence. This painting greatly impressed his teacher Andrea del Verrocchio, who swears to never paint aagain. Three years later, in 1472, at the age of 20, Leonardo became a master and a member of The Guild of Saint Luke.

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The man with the talent of ten men
During this time, the Renaissance had begun, and a new way of thinking was developing. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest men in the Renaissance and considered to be a universal genius. He was sometimes called "the man with ten men's talents". A nickname he lived to the highest level.

While continuing to develop his painting, he also studied astronomy, technology, mechanics, anatomy, biology, zoology, ornithology, palaeontology, botany, mathematics, geometry and physics. In addition, he was a sculptor, water engineer, instrument maker, engineer, military and civil engineer. In many ways, he was before his time drawing and developed inventions such as a diving suit, a pyramid-shaped parachute and a kind of helicopter, with a sail shape that was supposed to rotate.

Leonardo da Vinci - an inventor of painting
Within painting, Leonardo da Vinci was innovative and developed a new technique, so that colours and shades blend together, which was called "sfumato". The soft transitions between light and shadow make the eye not distinguish single lines and colour areas. He also invented a new kind of paint, experimenting with a new black oil painted on dry plaster, instead of wet plaster, as was usually the case in fresco painting. Unfortunately, this technique turned out to be not so good and the painting began to expire during Leonardo's lifetime.

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Chief painter in Milan
Leonardo is perhaps most famous for the Mona Lisa, now at the Louvre in Paris, and The Last Supper, which is in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. In 1482, Vinci went to Milan where he started working for Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. He was the Duke's chief painter, sculptor, architect and army engineer until the Sforza family fell in 1499.

During this time he was set with the task of painting Madonna in the Cave and The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Last Supper is a mural painting that was created in 1495-1498 and represents Jesus' last meal.

Self portrait, average nose and mysterious smile
The Mona Lisa is perhaps one of the world's most researched ad debated paintings. Some believe that Mona Lisa is a depiction of Leonardo as a woman. Others say that Mona Lisa is a portrait issued by a study of a large collection of women, and that the painting is the result of the "middle woman". It is therefore believed that Leonardo has measured every woman's mouth and then painted the average size of a mouth. While others say it represents Lisa Gherardini or "La Gioconda" which she came to be called.

Read more about The Mona Lisa here.

Mona Lisa was painted by Da Vinci between 1503-1506, however, he continued to paint the mouth for a few years more, completing the painting in 1517.

Leonardo was not always appreciated in his own country, Italy. In the last years of his life, he lived in France, where he was deeply admired. Leonardo da Vinci died 1519 in Amboise, France.

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Auction consignment became the world's most expensive painting
Leonardo da Vinci's painting Salvator Mundi, was in the collection of three English King's before it "disappeared" and appeared at a small auction in the United States. Last month, the work became the last Da Vinci ever to be sold on the open market. The price for such a painting was $450.3 million with Christie's buyer commission.

Search realised prices for Da Vinci here.

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