100 years on, Italians ask Louvre to return Mona Lisa
09 Sep 12 11:38 AM
LONDON: In an attempt to bring the acclaimed Mona Lisa painting back from France, Italian campaigners have collected over 150,000 signatures, building pressure on the Paris's Louvre museum to return the Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece to its "home city" of Florence.
The world's most famous painting should be returned to the Uffizi museum where it was displayed early in the 20th century, according to the National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage, which organized the petition, the Daily Mail reported.
Committee president Silvano Vincenti said he has made a formal request to the French minister of culture, Aurelie Filippetti, for the painting to be given back.
He said the return of the painting would be of "high historical value, both symbolic and moral".
But the Louvre museum itself has already snubbed the committee. And Florence's claims on the Renaissance masterpiece, known by Italians as La Gioconda, might not be that straightforward.
Da Vinci is thought to have begun work on the enigmatic portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy Tuscan silk merchant, in Florence in 1503. But art historians think he took it with him when he moved to France in 1516.
The French Royal family then acquired it and following a spell at Versailles it ended up at the Louvre museum after the French Revolution. It was stolen from the Paris museum in 1911 and was discovered two years later at the Florence home of the Italian patriot and former Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
However, it was exhibited briefly in the Uffizi and then in Rome before it was returned to the Louvre that year.