Leonardo Celebrations

As we move into the 500th. anniversary of Leonardo’s death on 2 May 1519 at the château of Amboise, according to Vasari, in the arms of the French king, I was asked to appear on the Today programme in connection with the objections of an Italian junior minister of culture, Lucia Borgonzoni, to the fact that by far the biggest single exhibition is being held not in Italy, but at the Louvre in Paris, which has the largest and most important holding of Leonardo’s paintings. She has discouraged Italian museums from lending to the exhibition. In fact, only Parma is lending, as the Uffizi had already turned down the request on grounds of condition. And Italy is itself doing multiple exhibitions – in Milan, in Florence at the Galileo Museum, and in Turin. So, we can surely celebrate Leonardo as an uomo universale, not a subject of nationalist ambitions.

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