Leonardo's Salvator Mundi heads to The Louvre Abu Dhabi

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The art world was stunned last month when an unknown person bid a record $450.3 million for a Leonardo da Vinci painting of Christ called "Salvator Mundi", and now that the buyer's identity has been revealed, they're still surprised. France agreed to lease paintings from its own museums to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi in 2007 for a sum from $800 million to $1 billion.

The move became possible after a little-known Saudi price Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud reportedly bought the painting last month, according to the New York Times.

Update, 12/6/2017, 3pm EST: In a tweet, the auction house Christie's - which sold "Salvator Mundi" - congratulated the Louvre Abu Dhabi, saying that the painting "is going to its new home".

The French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported that two investment firms were behind the purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums. Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums in China and the Middle East.

The work was exhibited in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY before the sale.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on 8 November in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described it as a "bridge between civilisations".

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The island will also feature the Zayed National Museum, which had signed a loan deal with the British Museum - although the arrangement has come increasingly into question due to construction delays.

The museum opened with some 600 pieces including items from early Mesopotamia.

Salvatore Mundi was first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), and thought to have hung in the private chambers of Henrietta Maria - the wife of King Charles I - in her palace in Greenwich, and was later in the collection of Charles II. There are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.

The painting was sold again in 1958 for only 45 pounds ($60) and then was acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $10,000.

Its latest sale was initiated by Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev, the boss of football club AS Monaco. Despite selling the "Salvator Mundi" painting for a world record price, Rybolovlev has not withdrawn his lawsuit against Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier.