Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Will Be Unveiled at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre, Abu Dhabi
Louvre, Abu Dhabi | © John Campbell / Flickr
Siobhan Ali

Ever since the Louvre Abu Dhabi revealed itself to be the anonymous buyer of the world’s most expensive painting, UAE locals and tourists alike have been anxiously waiting to find out when da Vinci’s work would be unveiled in the Emirates. The wait is finally over, as the Department of Culture and Tourism have answered the question on everyone’s lips.

Unveiling and future

Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi will be unveiled to the public for the first time on September 18, 2018, as confirmed by the Department of Culture and Tourism. It will then be loaned to Musée du Louvre in Paris to form part of their exhibition on the artist between October 2019 and February 2020. It will then return home to be exhibited in Louvre Abu Dhabi once again.

The background

Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) is one of less than 20 paintings by the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci and dates back to 1500. The oil painting depicts Jesus Christ in robes of lapis and crimson, holding a crystal orb in one hand and raising the other in benediction.

Salvator Mundi will go on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi in September 2018

The painting is commonly believed to have been painted for Louis XII of France and was taken to England by Henrietta Maria upon her marriage to Charles I of England in 1625. From then on, its history was tumultuous as it passed between various members of the English nobility. It disappeared from record frequently and was believed to have been destroyed.

Authenticity and auction

The painting has been a subject of intense fascination since its surprising rediscovery. It was previously thought to be a copy of the original and was purchased for less than US$10,000 in 2005 by a group of art dealers. Heavily painted over, the painting required extensive restoration and was eventually authenticated as an original in 2007.

Referred to as the ‘Last da Vinci’, Salvator Mundi broke records at its pre-auction viewings where it attracted over 27,000 people, Christie’s highest ever number of viewers for an individual work of art. It hit headlines late last year when it was purchased for US$450.3 million, making it the most expensive painting in the world. Amidst immense public interest and media frenzy, the painting was revealed to have been bought on behalf of the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The significance of the painting

Salvator Mundi will be making history as the first da Vinci painting to be permanently homed in the Middle East, indeed the first to be homed permanently outside of Europe and the United States. It is a key moment in the UAE’s history, placing it firmly on the map as a key figure in world history, culture and art, as well as tying in with its mission to develop the cultural sector. His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, describes it as ‘our gift to the world’, highlighting the UAE’s contribution to world culture and history.

The painting also supports the UAE’s aims of developing its tourism industry. Salvator Mundi is expected to be a game changer, and will hopefully boost the Emirati tourist economy, as ‘Chinese tourists will want to come to see the world’s most expensive work of art’. The endless marketing opportunities, from mugs and fridge magnets to postcards and T-shirts, will also prove highly lucrative.

The new addition to Louvre Abu Dhabi will establish the nation as a leader in arts and culture
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.