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Italy nationalists mull refusing Da Vincis to Louvre

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.

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

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.

READ ALSO: Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex Leicester to return to Italy

TOURISM

The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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