Saudi Arabia’s Secret Plans to Unveil Its Hidden da Vinci

Gene Naumovsky

“Salvator Mundi” is only one pawn in Saudi Arabia's plans to establish itself as an international art icon.

Since purchasing Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” painting for $450 million 3 years ago, Saudia Arabia has made its use of the piece clear as its Ministry of Culture unveils plans to construct a new museum to display the painting, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While the plans remained clandestine until now, a multibillion-dollar initiative by the Saudis to establish their nation as an international art icon has been made public. The plans include the construction of more than 12 art institutions, and hope to see up to $27 billion of added funds enter the Saudi economy. The art initiative remains one aspect of the country’s $64 billion agenda to reshape the nation’s image and economy.

Deputy culture minister Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez said, “We were a closed country for so long, and now we have a chance for people to get to know us. A lot has been written about one particular painting, but we have to focus on the huge things we’re trying to do.”

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