The world’s most expensive painting — the “Salvator Mundi” — is located on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s superyacht the Serene, Artnet.com reported on Monday.
The location of the artwork has been shrouded in secrecy since 2017 when it was sold for a record-breaking $450 million at an auction by Christie’s.
Salvator Mundi (Latin for Saviour of the World), dubbed the “male Mona Lisa” because of its similarities to the iconic painting, was reported to have been bought by another prince, who acted as a proxy for bin Salman at the auction.
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was reportedly presented to Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi so that it could be on display at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi in September. The 2018 exhibit was delayed indefinitely.
The 500-year-old painting was also pledged as a loan to the Louvre in Paris for an upcoming exhibit to commemorate Vinci’s 500th death anniversary but it was pulled from that show.
Artnet, an art industry news service, reported that the painting was whisked to bin Salman’s 439-foot superyacht, citing two sources.
The Serene was floating on the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian resort town on the Sinai Peninsula as of May 26, according to Bloomberg ship-tracking data.
The artwork will remain on board the Serene until the Saudis create a planned cultural hub in the Al-Ula region, which Artnet described as “basically an art Disneyland.”
The Louvre Paris had insisted on attributing “Salvator Mundi” to “the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci” instead of the Italian genius himself, according to a Telegraph report.
The painting, whose authenticity has been questioned would diminish its value substantially if determined not an actual painting by the Renaissance master.