An administrative court in Venice decided Tuesday to temporarily suspend the loan of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” to the Louvre in Paris for an exhibition that is set to open later this month.
The move followed a request by the non-profit group Italia Nostra, which has been protesting the loan of the famed drawing by the Renaissance master from Venice’s Accademia Gallery.
A final decision is set for Oct. 16, just days before the exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death is set to open at the Louvre on Oct. 24.
Italia Nostra, which campaigns for the protection of Italy’s cultural treasures, argued that such a “precious and fragile” masterpiece should not leave Italy.
The Culture Ministry called the decision “incomprehensible.”
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini signed a memorandum in September securing the loan in exchange for a work by Raphael for an exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of his death next year in Rome.
“The Vitruvian Man,” Leonardo’s famed study of human proportions, is normally kept out of public view in climate-controlled conditions, but was exhibited at the Accademia Gallery from April through July as part of events marking the anniversary of his death.q