Italy nationalists mull refusing Da Vincis to Louvre

AFP - [email protected]
Italy nationalists mull refusing Da Vincis to Louvre
People take pictures of the painting 'Saint-Jean Baptiste' by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre Museum in 2016. Photo: AFP

Italy wants to renegotiate a deal to loan all of its Leonardo da Vinci paintings to France's Louvre to mark 500 years since his death, Italian media reported on Saturday.


Junior culture minister Lucia Bergonzoni of the far-right League told the Corriere della Sera that the terms of an agreement signed by previous culture minister Dario Franceschini were "unbelievable".

"Leonardo is Italian, he only died in France," Bergonzoni said of the Renaissance polymath who was born in Italy in 1452 and died in France in 1519.

"To give the Louvre all these paintings would put Italy on the margins of a major cultural event," Bergonzoni said of the 2017 deal for the Italian state to loan all of its Da Vinci paintings to the 2019 Louvre exhibition.

"We need to discuss everything again. Where museums' autonomy is concerned, national interest cannot come second. The French cannot have everything," she said.

The Franco-Italian accord also provides for the Louvre -- home to Da Vinci's Mona Lisa -- to loan works by another Renaissance master, Raphael, to Rome's Scuderi del Quirinale museum for a 2020 exhibition to mark 500 years since his death.

"Most of Raphael's works are already in Italy," said Bergonzoni. "What's more, Paris says that only 'movable' paintings can come to us, without specifying which ones."

Bergonzoni did not immediately respond to emailed questions from AFP.

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