the beast

Saudi Arabia’s power-hungry crown prince sent a proxy to buy a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ. Now… MBS has ‘lost’ the painting! What would a ‘moderate’ Muslim, who is in charge of the greatest Muslim Temples in Saudi Arabia want with a picture of Christ??? Now…for the rest of the story.

Saudi Arabia’s power-hungry crown prince sent a proxy to buy a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ. Now… MBS has ‘lost’ the painting worth almost $500 Million! What would a ‘moderate’ Muslim, who is in charge of the greatest Muslim Temples in Saudi Arabia want with a picture of Christ??? Now…for the rest of the story.

Dec. 7, 2017, 3:38 PM Business Insider. Peter Jacobs

Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reportedly behind the purchase of the most expensive painting ever sold at auctionaccording to The Wall Street Journal.

US government intelligence sources and a Saudi art-world figure all confirmed to The Journal that Crown Prince Mohammed was the buyer of a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ.

Crown Prince Mohammed is widely seen to be the muscle behind the recent anti-corruption purge, as he consolidates power in a way Saudi Arabia hasn’t seen in decades. Many of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most powerful people were arrested and jailed last month.

Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was identified as the mystery buyer in a New York Times report published Wednesday, but is now reported to be a proxy for the crown prince. US intelligence reports have been closely tracking Prince Mohammed’s activities, according to The Journal, and identified him as the painting’s buyer.

The nature of the painting — a rendition of Christ — and the timing of the purchase — less than two weeks after the corruption purge — calls into question whether the crown prince has been selectively targeting people in the crackdown, The Times reported.

Here is the painting, which will be featured at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates: Prince Bader, part of a distant branch of the wealthy royal family, is reportedly friends and business partners with Crown Prince Mohammed. The Saudi art-world figure told The Journal that Prince Bader “is a proxy” for Prince Mohammed.

“It is a fact that this deal was done via a proxy,” the person said.

Now he’s “Lost It”

November 24, 2018 Updated 17:02 GMT. TheNewArab. Alaraby.co.uk

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has allegedly ‘lost’ the world’s most expensive painting, art academics and enthusiasts fear.

The painting, Salvator Mundi by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci shows Jesus in Renaissance dress, giving a benediction with his right hand raised whilst holding a transparent rock crystal orb in his left hand.

It was dubbed the most expensive painting in the world last year after it was purchased by Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MbS, for $450.3 million.

MbS bought the painting on 15 November 2017 with the intention to display it at Louvre Abu Dhabi, but it has not been seen in public since.

“Nobody outside the immediate Arab hierarchy knows where it is,” Professor Martin Kemp told The Times. The Da Vinci scholar first saw the painting in 2008 and helped “authenticate” it with his research.

The 500-year-old painting, initially thought to be a copy of Da Vinci’s artwork by his student Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio was bought for a mere £45 ($58) at an auction in 1958.

It wasn’t until 2011 that experts authenticated the painting as the original work of Da Vinci, prompting full restoration work.

The painting was taken to an unknown location after it was purchased by the crown prince. Art collector and conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, who resorted to contacting Louvre Abu Dhabi to ask for the whereabouts of the painting, received no response.

She expressed that the disappearance of the painting is a “cause for concern” considering it is unclear who is caring for the painting and how.

She became even more concerned on September 3 when Abu Dhabi tourism and culture authority said it was postponing the unveiling of Salvator Mundi, which was initially scheduled for September 18 and had been silent on the matter ever since.

 

A “Mockery of Christ”

Opinion: $450 million for Christ — the art market’s perversion of a symbol

The recent Neymar football transfer was emblematic of the obscene games of the ultra-rich. With the record auction of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” the art world now has its own symbol, says Torsten Landsberg.

The image has been turned into a symbol. An unnamed bidder paid nearly half a billion dollars to acquire the “Salvator Mundi,” a work that was — probably / perhaps / no one knows — painted by Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.

No need to point out that this money, the equivalent of around €380 million, could have been invested in far more socially meaningful ways.

Current events speak for themselves: the Global Wealth Report, published by Credit Suisse just a day before Wednesday’s auction in New York, found that the richest one percent of the planet owns half of the world’s wealth. The “Salvator Mundi” auction feels like a staged mockery confirming this infinite gap between the rich and poor.

A 250-percent gain

The “Salvator” previously belonged to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought the painting in 2013 for $127.5 million. He accused his Swiss art dealer of cheating him, as it was revealed that the dealer paid $80 million for it just a few days before reselling it with a hefty profit. Rybolovlev’s 250-percent gain after Wednesday’s sale might help soothe the pain.

Last summer, the €222-million-euro transfer of forward Neymar was seen as a sign of the moral decline of the football industry. The art world, just like football, has turned into a real-life Monopoly game, in which oligarchs, sheikhs and Asian billionaires move around their endless piles of cash, some of it gained under dubious circumstances.

The Leonardo da Vinci auction has simply pushed the limits of this game to an even more obscene level.

As if the bidders truly were using play money, the bids initially climbed by tens of millions, then by fives, until the bid reached $260 million, finally slowing down to increases of $2 million. The 19-minute-long tug of war between the last five bidders drove the painting to smash all previous auction records, reaching over four times more than Christie’s presale estimate of $100 million.

Disputed authenticity

Experts from all over the world have spent years analyzing the painting. Some still doubt that it was actually painted by Leonardo himself; it might have been created by one of his students. In addition, the painting really isn’t in a great condition, either.

But those concerns didn’t really seem to matter during this auction; the painting rather served as a trophy. A person’s life must be inconceivably boring when they need such a status symbol to enhance it.

You don’t have to be religious to recognize the perversion in the symbolism of this image. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”: these are some of the words of wisdom attributed to Jesus, who is depicted as the “Savior of the world” on the painting that’s currently the world’s most expensive. For now, anyway, as the game of the super-rich will certainly continue.

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