PARIS (Reuters) – The Louvre Museum of France, home of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, is putting the finishing touches on one of the largest exhibitions of the Italian master's work ever, featuring the most expensive painting in the world. , agonized unresolved.
An infrared reflectography of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" painting is portrayed during a press visit to the "Leonardo da Vinci" exhibition to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, October 20, 2019. REUTERS / Benoit Tessier
The Louvre brought together more than 160 Renaissance-era paintings, sculptures, letters and drawings in an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the Italian master's death.
If Salvator Mundi, a painting attributed to da Vinci and sold by Christie auctioneers in 2017 for $ 450 million, and which many art experts are in the Gulf, will be part of the show is yet to be seen.
Louvre executives have requested his inclusion and are still waiting for him to arrive at the show, giving an extra frisson of interest in the race for its opening.
Da Vinci left his native Italy when his patron died and spent his last years in France as a guest of the French monarch until he died in May 1519 in the Loire Valley castle, which had become his home.
The exhibition, which opens on Thursday, October 24, shows 10 of the paintings now attributed to da Vinci, including those kept at the Louvre – Saint Anne, St. John the Baptist, The Virgin of the Rocks and La Belle Ferronnière – and works borrowed from other institutions.
Last week, a Venetian judge authorized the loan of some Da Vinci drawings, including the famous "Man of Vitruve", which will be aired for two months only in Paris because of its fragility.
Experts disagree on the exact number of works that can be attributed to the artist, with some putting the figure at 14 and others saying it is 17.
The da Vinci exhibition includes two dozen drawings borrowed by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as paintings and sculptures. Some of the works are by Da Vinci himself, while others are by other artists and are there to put the work of the Italian conductor in context.
The exhibition also features infrared images of Da Vinci's paintings, revealing the layers of work underneath the final image, providing a glimpse of his working methods.
“Leonardo da Vinci paints very slowly. Each painting is a long improvement in form and content, ”said Vincent Delieuvin, conservative of the Louvre's painting department.
Diplomatic friction cast a shadow over the organization of the Paris show, with former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini clearly saying that Da Vinci was Italian, not French.
When his patron Giuliano de Medici died, da Vinci left Italy for France at the invitation of the French king François I. Named “the king's first painter, engineer and architect,” the elderly maestro settled in the Château du Clos Lucé, near royalty Amboise's residence.
The Mona Lisa, his most renowned work, has been in the Louvre since the French Revolution and is seen by some 30,000 visitors every day. This painting is not part of the exhibition.
The museum hopes that the da Vinci exhibition has attracted at least half a million visitors by the closing on February 24.
Elizabeth Pineau report; Edited by Christian Lowe and David Holmes
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