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Report: World's Most Expensive Painting Is on Prince's Yacht

Sources say Saudi prince had da Vinci 'whisked away'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2019 5:24 AM CDT
This Oct. 24, 2017 photo shows Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" on display at Christie's auction rooms in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
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(Newser) – A $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting could end up in Davy Jones' locker if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's superyacht sinks, according to Artnet, which says it has tracked down "the world’s most expensive, missing-in-action painting." Sources tell Artnet that the painting was "whisked away" on the prince's plane and taken to his 439-foot yacht Serene. The painting's whereabouts have been unknown since 2017, when it became by far the most expensive ever sold. It was bought by an obscure Saudi prince who is believed to have been acting on behalf of the crown prince.

The yacht was most recently moored in the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh, according to Bloomberg, which notes that "trophy art" often winds up on the yachts of the super-rich. The 500-year-old painting of Jesus is expected to eventually end up at a "cultural hub" Saudi Arabia plans to create in the Al-Ula region. Artnet reports that plans to display the painting at the Abu Dhabi branch of the Louvre were abruptly canceled last year, possibly out of fears that the museum will attribute it as "from the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci" instead of as a work created by da Vinci alone. (Read more Leonardo da Vinci stories.)

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