Unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci's $450M painting 'postponed'
The long-awaited unveiling of the world's most expensive painting, Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," has been postponed, according to Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism.
In a tweet posted Monday, the government body gave no reason for the decision, adding that "more details will be announced soon." The painting was due to go on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi later this month.
Neither the Department of Culture and Tourism nor the Louvre Abu Dhabi have responded to CNN's requests for comment at the time of publication.
Dating back to around 1500, "Salvator Mundi" is one of fewer than 20 known Leonardo works in existence. First commissioned by Louis XII of France, the painting was considered lost for more than 200 years, before being acquired and restored by a group of art dealers.
The painting was authenticated after more than six years' research, according to Christie's, who oversaw the record $450.3 million sale in November 2017. The identity of the anonymous telephone buyer was later revealed to be Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism.
The acquisition of the "Salvator Mundi" was considered to be a significant coup for the Louvre's first overseas outpost, which opened in 2017. The painting attracted large crowds during pre-auction viewings in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco.
Monday's announcement comes less than a month after a high-profile art historian, Matthew Landrus, claimed that only 20% to 30% of the painting was actually completed by Leonardo himself. Speaking to CNN in August, the University of Oxford academic outlined his theory that the great painter's assistant, Bernardino Luini, was largely responsible for the artwork.
Landrus' findings are set to be published later this week, in an update to his 2006 book, "Leonardo da Vinci." In an email statement last month, Leonardo expert and curator of Italian Paintings at London's National Gallery, Martin Kemp, described the claims as "ill-founded assertions that would attract no attention were it not for the sale price."