For the past few years Dubai has been making a name as the top destination to visit in the Middle East, but in one fell swoop, Abu Dhabi might have undone all that hard work and made themselves a powerful contender. How? You wonder. It’s easy, Abu Dhabi’s Louvre museum is the new home of the world’s most expensive painting Salvator Mundi, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably the world’s most well-known painter.
While the painting won’t be unveiled until September 18, anticipation is already high among art lovers. Mohamed Khalifa Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times, “It means a great deal. This is a very exciting moment for Abu Dhabi, as we welcome the world to witness the unveiling of a masterpiece by one of the most important artists in history In Abu Dhabi.
“Having spent so long undiscovered, this masterpiece is now our gift to the world and we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the globe to witness its beauty, when it is unveiled at Louvre Abu Dhabi in September 201,” he added.
Having this influential painting by a world renowned painter is a coup for Abu Dhabi, as canonically great art usually ends up in European museums. It will be interesting to see how increasingly proactive art purchases in museums influence tourism in the Middle East. Will the art lovers follow the money? Or will Western museums continue to dictate tastes? Only time will tell.