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Da Vinci Painting Heads to Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum


Security guards open a door to reveal "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci during a news conference at Christie's in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. The piece, which was painted around 1500, is one of fewer than twenty da Vinci paintings known to exist. After public exhibitions around the world, the auction is scheduled to take place on Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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A Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ that recently sold for a record $450 million is heading to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The newly opened museum made the announcement this week.

The 500-year-old painting is called “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World.” It is one of fewer than 20 da Vinci paintings known to exist.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 11. The waterfront museum in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city includes Middle Eastern objects and paintings, as well as works by Western artists.

Last month, Christie’s auction house in New York City sold the painting for the most money ever paid for a piece of art at auction. The auction house did not say who the buyer was; it does not comment on the identities of buyers or sellers without their permission.

But the New York Times newspaper has reported that the buyer may have been a Saudi prince.

The 66-centimeter-tall painting dates to around 1500. It shows Jesus dressed in Renaissance-style clothing. His right hand is raised in blessing and his left hand is holding a crystal ball.

The painting was in a private collection of King Charles I of England. It disappeared from view until 1900, when a British collector bought it. At that time, it was thought to have been painted by a student of Leonardo rather than the master himself.

In 2005, a group of art dealers paid less than $10,000 for the artwork. It was badly damaged and partly painted over. They restored the work and proved that the painting was done by Leonardo da Vinci himself.

Before last month’s record-breaking sale, the highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s painting “Interchange.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

Ashley Thompson adapted this story for Learning English based on AP news reports. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

auction - n. a public sale at which things are sold to the people who offer to pay the most

Rennaisance - n. the period of European history between the 14th and 17th centuries when there was a new interest in science and in ancient art and literature especially in Italy

crystal - n. a clear hard mineral that is either colorless or very light in color and that is used in making jewelry

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