ABU DHABI – The fine arts community is abuzz. The most expensive painting in the world – the Salvator Mundi – has disappeared and cannot be found.
The Savior of the World, as known in English, was sold at auction by Christie’s in November 2017 at a record-breaking price of $450 million.
Although there is some debate as to whom the actual buyer was (the buyer may have used a proxy), the painting was to have been delivered to Abu Dhabi.
Christie’s issued a statement that the Department of Culture and Tourism had acquired the highly-coveted artwork as part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s mission “to see the world in a new light.”
The museum in Abu Dhabi also owns the second most expensive painting, When Will You Marry? by Paul Gauguin. That masterpiece was previously sold to the museum for $300 million.
Although it had been announced that the painting would be unveiled in September 2018, the following post appeared on Instagram on September 3, 2018:
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi announces the postponement of the unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.
More details will be announced soon.
Not a word has been heard since. There is a rumor that the Salvator Mundi was, in the interim, traded to an individual in the royal family of Abu Dhabi, although no one has been able to confirm the veracity of that claim.
Meanwhile, followers of fine art watch and wait with no hope of seeing the Savior of the World again.
Where Is the Savior of the World?
There are more ironies concerning the painting and the actual Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, than this news article could possibly contain.
Just before His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them and that they would not see Him. (See John 14)
When they asked where He was going, He replied that He is preparing a place for those who trust and follow Him.
When they inquired about how to get to that place, Jesus told them,
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.
In another conversation, the disciples asked what they should do until He returned. He replied that they should watch and pray.
Before He ascended into Heaven some 40 days later, He told them to tell the whole world all that He had taught them so that others would find Him and trust in Him. (See Matthew 28)
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter told the thousands gathered in Jerusalem that the Savior of the World is at the right hand of God. He explained that although we cannot see Him, He abides in those who trust Him. (See Acts 2)
Perhaps the ultimate irony is that someone paid $450 million for a painting of Jesus. Yet Jesus set aside all of the riches of glory that were rightfully His to come into this world, live a sinless life, and pay the incomprehensible price for the sins of every person who ever has or ever will live.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that a great many people don’t even know anything about the Salvator Mundi or that it has been lost.
Sadly, a great many people don’t know about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, or that they are lost without Him. They need us to do whatever it takes to tell them who He is, what He has done, where He is, and that He is coming back to take those who love Him to be with Him.
The Savior of the World isn’t lost. He came to seek and to save the lost. Let the world know.
To read more news on World Missions on Missions Box, go here.
- Christie’s, The Last da Vinci
- The Christian Post, World’s most expensive painting, a $450M image of Jesus by Da Vinci is missing
- Hyperallergic, Salvator Mundi’s Mysterious Journey to the Gulf [UPDATED]
- Louvre Abu Dhabi, NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
- Salvator Mundi, Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]