Since its sale for a record $450 million, the whereabouts of the “Salvator Mundi,” said to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci, has become one of the art world’s greatest mysteries.
On Monday, London-based art dealer Kenny Schachter, writing for the website Artnews, offered answers: the painting now resides on the gargantuan yacht owned by powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Since its record-setting sale at Christie’s in 2017, the painting, in which Jesus Christ is depicted emerging from darkness blessing the world with one hand while holding a transparent globe in the other, has never been exhibited in public, triggering doubts about its ownership, whereabouts and authenticity.
Many art experts are split over whether the painting is genuine, saying it was not painted by the Italian master personally but instead by his workshop.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the painting was bought by Saudi prince Badr bin Abdullah, who acted in the name of the Saudi crown prince, known by his initials MBS.
Riyadh never confirmed or denied that report.
AFP could not corroborate Schachter’s column, and in a nod to the opaque nature of international art sales, he wrote, “In the murky Middle Eastern waters nothing is quite crystal clear.”
But citing several sources including two involved in the sale, Schachter claims the painting “was whisked away in the middle of the night on MBS’s plane and relocated to his yacht, the Serene.”
After saying the painting was originally found in shards and had to be reconstructed before its auction, he asks, “what harm could the occasional splash of seawater do?”
Schachter later wrote that the painting will remain onboard the massive yacht until it is relocated to the Al-Ula governorate, which Saudi Arabia is aiming to transform into a culture and tourism destination.
Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report
The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.
"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."
Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.
The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.
The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.
"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.
Congress still has one big tool left to rein in Trump’s corruption: Oversight Committee Democrat
Senate Republicans may have managed to quash the impeachment trial without calling forth any new witnesses or seriously considering the evidence against President Donald Trump. And the president may feel vindicated and largely invulnerable as a result.
But, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday, that doesn't mean Democrats don't have one last big play to rein in the president's abuses of power. They can use the first and strongest authority delegated to them: the power of the purse.
"What can Democrats really do when it comes to oversight of the president?" asked Cooper. "I mean, now that impeachment is over, does seem like there are fewer and fewer guardrails, if any."