«Italy will lend two Leonardo’s works» But Bonisoli refutes Paris


“I am forced to deny the words of the French minister of Culture, Franck Riester. I am amazed by the statements of my counterpart, who announces the loan of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man and Self-Portrait to the Louvre. I precise that, during my institutional visit with the Head of State, nothing has been decided by both parties”. This has declared the minister for cultural Heritage and activities, Alberto Bonisoli, after a tweet of the French colleague Riester, who, after the meeting between the presidents of the Republic Mattarella and Macron in Amboise, France, had written: “Thanks to culture, we have succeeded in getting France and Italy close again”. Announcing “for the beautiful exhibition organized at the Louvre” on Leonardo the arrival of the Vitruvian Man (that is kept in Venice’s Accademia Galleries) and the Self-Portrait (which is kept in Turin’s Royal Museums).

The controversy between Italy and France on the loans for the exhibition at the Louvre had begun on November 16, when the undersecretary for Cultural Heritage, Lucia Borgonzoni, said: “Leonardo is Italian, no loans to the Louvre”. The loans were “assured” by the previous minister, Dario Franceschini, for the great exhibition in October 2019, of which, however, currently we do not know the works that will be exhibited. According to the undersecretary, the loan would have placed Italy “on the sidelines of the cultural event”, especially since the Academy of the Lincei had “its own exhibition in August,” but two days ago the Lincei has presented its initiative. The statement of the undersecretary was thusly re-taken on “Le Figaro”: “Italie veut renégocier le prêt de tableaux au Louvre”.

It was then the director of the Uffizi, Eike Schmidt, to pull the brakes on the loan of the Leonardo Florentine works to the Louvre “for conservation issues.”

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