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.
Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems
Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.
Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."
Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.
Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.
The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.
New York cop who became El Chapo’s security guard arrested for selling cocaine and taking bribes
A New York cop is being prosecuted after he was outed for selling cocaine and taking bribes after he went to work for drug kingpin El Chapo.
The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Officer Ishmael Bailey had his bail set at $50,000 after he was arrested and arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. He was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, conspiracy, bribe receiving as a public servant and failing to perform duties as a public servant.
Lawyer Jeff Cohen argued that Bailey had two children and had to pay child support. The lawyer explained that Bailey “does understand the severity of his charges.”