Italy has stood ground on its firm decision of declining to lend the artworks one of its greatest natives, to France. What is termed as this year’s “greatest cultural event” at the Louvre Museum in Paris, is expected to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci. However, an agreement between Italy and France, to have Leonardo’s works lent on loan to the Museum has been scrapped off by Italy’s government. According to Italy’s undersecretary in the ministry of culture Lucia Borgonzoni, two years ago the former minister of culture Dario Franceschini signed an agreement, to lend several paintings as well as drawings to France for the Louvre Museum exhibition in honour of Leonardo.
Borgonzoni asserts that the signed deal of having the works at the exhibition puts Italy on the margins of a great cultural event, terming that the artist is by far remembered as one of their own, “Leonardo is Italian; he only died in France”. The artistic master worldly known for his painting “The Monalisa” was born in Anchiano, Italy in 1452 and passed away in France in the year 1519. Borgonzoni is now requesting to have the whole deal revised on the basis of having the nation’s interest put on notice as a major concern, “Where museums’ autonomy is concerned, the nation’s interest cannot come second, the French cannot have everything.”
The director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence Eike Schmidt, said that the three paintings in their possession: The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi, and The Baptism of Christ would not be lent to the Louvre Museum as they as too fragile to be moved. However at the moment questions on why the condition of the paintings was not discussed ahead of this year (when the exhibition is set to take place) are being raised.
With another concern emerging, who would have thought it would turn out to be a tit for tat fair game? Schmidt was quoted citing the Museum’s policy to never lend “The Mona Lisa”, “I am sure my French colleagues at Louvre will support me when I apply the same rules to our Leonardo paintings that they apply to the Mona Lisa,”
Both Italy and France are preparing exhibitions this year marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo, with Italy still seeking ways to access the Mona Lisa. The Louvre has repeatedly brushed requests to allow the Mona Lisa to be shown in Italy, with claims that is owned by the France since the French Royal Family acquired it right after the artist’s death.