May 27, 2019
Arts

Italy blocks Leonardo loans for Louvre anniversary show

Leonardo da Vinci's The Annunciation was sent to Japan in 2007 but will not be loaned to France this year
© TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

Italys populist government says that it will block a previously agreed loan of works by Leonardo from Italian museums to the Louvre in Paris. In 2017, Italys then minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, agreed to lend several paintings and drawings for the Louvres Leonardo exhibition this autumn, marking the 500th anniversary of the artists death.

Lucia Borgonzoni, the undersecretary for the Italian ministry of culture, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper: “Leonardo is Italian; he only died in France… giving the Louvre all those paintings would mean putting Italy on the margins of a great cultural event.”

The director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Eike Schmidt, told reporters that three paintings by Leonardo in the Uffizis collection—The Annunciation (around 1472), The Adoration of the Magi (around 1482) and The Baptism of Christ (around 1475)—would not be lent to the Louvre. “I am sure my French colleagues at the [museum] will support me when I apply the same rules to our Leonardo paintings that they apply to the Mona Lisa,” Schmidt said, referring to the Louvres policy of never lending Leonardos famous portrait.

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