The art world was abuzz last month when Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for a record-shattering US$450 million to a buyer whose identity was kept secret–until now.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman– known widely by his initials MBS–was the one who bought the painting, using little-known Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan al-Saud as a proxy at the auction held by Christie’s New York.
Salvator Mundi currently holds the record for the most expensive painting ever sold.
The Crown Prince has been making quite a name for himself in his ascent to power. In November, he made headlines as the “mastermind” behind an anti-corruption campaign that put over 200 powerful princes, government officials and businessmen in custody.
He’s also behind Vision 2030, a wide-ranging plan to restructure and diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s identity as the buyer of Salvator Mundi was revealed shortly after the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi tweeted that the artwork, which is one of only 20 surviving paintings by the Renaissance master, would be coming soon to the museum.