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The world’s most expensive painting is on a Saudi Prince’s yacht: report

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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This Friday, President Trump raised eyebrows with his latest series of tweets regarding China, saying he's 'ordering' America companies to "immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA."

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