The mystery lasted less than expected: the name of the purchaser of the Salvator Mundi finally came out.
Badger bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, in short “a sheikh” of a collateral-cadet-minor branch that basically reconnects to the most controversial character in the Arab world at this time: Mohammed bin Salman, the famous heir to the Saudi throne.
The news is explosive, because the painting will become part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum as a gift from the buyer.
A museum that, until now, didn’t proceed in direct acquisitions neither of sacred art nor of old masters’ paintings , traditionally very tied to the West and its value system.
But things, you know, have to change sooner or later. And so, between a palace plot, a crackdown and an enlightened authoritarianism, MBS (as the crown prince is called) marks – with an artwork – a momentous change in the Arab way of conceiving luxury, power, culture and civilization.
The work, which obviously does not have to be perceived anymore as problematic in relation to the subject, is a moral slap to the traditionalist Arab gerontocracy which is an institutional cancer worthy of the worst “big-chair-ism” of the Italian politics (and of which our little Aladin is making a clean sweep without too many qualms).
But this is indeed a beautiful lesson also for the irreducible gerontocracy of the artistic world of our home.
In fact, while the market of old masters seems to be literally assaulted by a post-Leonardo euphoria (just check the results of Christie’s and Sotheby’s pre-Christmas rounds) and sales of modern and contemporary literally sail in a sea of blood; it is evident that a new generation of international collectors is carrying out a generational conflict focused on the concept of “old” and “new”, in a totally different way from the generation that preceded it.
Beauty VS Speculation
Fluidity VS Immobilism
And since the world is less and less interested in words and increasingly influenced by images, it is clear that Leonardo does win, as Bruegel, Botticelli, Caravaggio do, for a generation that, to “non-words” words of “non-places” places of “non-art” art of the many “non-curators” contemporary curators (and who knows if they would like to be paid with “non-money” money?) prefers Instagram, the wonderful bulldozer that is irreversibly asphalting and destroying a system, which creates a direct relationship between art and user (just like the Internet in general, practically for any field of life), mixing the meanings, the visual associations and the aims of the art itself.