Italy: Court Blocks Loan Of Leonardo's Famed Vitruvian Man To Louvre

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In Italy, a court blocks loan of Leonardo 's famed Vitruvian Man to Louvre museum in Paris. Italy and France have been in conflict over loaning museums.

Written By Tanima Ray | Mumbai | Updated On:

A loan for Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic Vitruvian Man to Louvre Museum in Paris has been turned down due to the verdict by a court in the northern Italian region of Veneto on October 9 as per reports. The painting of Vitruvian man which is perhaps Da Vinci's most iconic creations after Monalisa was intended to be the centerpiece of the Louvre's exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo's death. Both Italy and France have been in conflict over loaning museums. The exhibition is scheduled to open on October 24.

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About the 'Vitruvian Man'

As per reports, the Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci around 1490. The drawing is accompanied by notes based on the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius. Drawn with ink on paper the drawing depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. The piece of art is also called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. Currently, it is safely placed in the Gabinetto dei disegni e stampe of the Gallerie dell'Accademia, in Venice, Italy, under reference 228 in controlled temperature to avoid decay. Like most works on paper, it is displayed to the public only occasionally.

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The conflict between Italy and France over loaning

Media reports cite that the Italian Government, which lasted till August, refused to provide loans as they said that Leonardo belonged to Italy and not Paris over the museum's location. Later in September, the new government had agreed to loan several important Leonardo works as a gesture of goodwill after months of arguments between the two countries on cultural, political and economic topics. The countries came to a decision that in return, French museums would loan several works from master painter Raphael to Italy to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death in 2020. But with the recent court ruling, both agreements are in jeopardy. It was Italian advocacy group Italia Nostra's advocacy which mentioned that the Vitruvian man painting is too fragile to be moved. This led to the court ruling against the loan. 

Speaking to the media on the issue, the Italian Ministry of Culture has criticised the decision of the court, saying the process leading up to the loan was legal and transparent.

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