Tomorrow, Thursday 2 May 2019, President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, will pay their respects at Leonardo’s grave in Amboise to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. The unprecedented diplomatic visit is a great honour. The beauty of St Hubert’s Chapel, of the Royal Château and of this small town in the Loire Valley, helped along with the finest foods and wines from the Touraine, will ease the recent spats between the two governments. The Italian Culture Ministry Under Secretary, Lucia Borgonzoni, is upset with the Louvre in Paris. It’s huge Retrospective Leonardo Exhibition, which opens in October, will include works of art lent by Italy in a 2017 agreement signed by a previous government. She said, ‘It’s unfair...a mistaken deal...Leonardo is an Italian genius...in France, all he did was die...the French can’t have everything... The Louvre has five paintings by Leonardo, the most owned by any one museum. Timed tickets to control thousands of expected visitors, will be issued at thirty minute intervals. According to The Art Newspaper, the Louvre is the most attended museum in the world with over ten million visitors last year and between 25,000 and 50,000 visitors every day. The Louvre’s recent request for works from the Uffizi in Florence for the Exhibition was rejected as being too fragile to travel. The Louvre no longer lends the Mona Lisa for the same reason. Since its recovery from the theft in 1911, the lady with the mystic smile has left France on only three occasions. France is none too happy with the Italian government either. The Deputy PM of Italy, Luigi Di Maio, met the Gilets Jaunes in Paris, praised the leaders and told them not to give up. He also met candidates they have put forward for the European elections in May. The meetings followed verbal attacks from Di Maio on President Macron. It’s a pity that quarrels blight these exciting days for Amboise but if anyone knew about squabbling nations, it was Leonardo. After all, it was because François I of France took Milan in Italy that he ended up in Amboise. Clouds and silver linings spring to mind.
Read more about Leonardo da Vinci and his connection with the Loire Valley in Leonardo da Vinci: The Amboise Connection (available from Amazon).
The book was written to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in 1519 at Clos Lucé, Amboise, where he spent the last three years of his life.
Post by Pamela
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