The Mona Lisa painting is a magnet for millions of tourists who visit it in the Louvre in Paris every year. An Italian art committee has launched a campaign to return the most recognized image in art history back to Italy.
The National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage and the Province of Florence have already collected 150,000 signatures on a petition for the return of Leonardo Da Vinci’s key painting in 2013.
The return would be of “high historical value, both symbolic and moral,” Committee President Silvano Vincenti told Italian news agency ANSA.
“The committee has officially submitted a request for a meeting with the new French Minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti. I am convinced that, thanks to the Minister’s Italian origins, she will not only respond positively to our request, she will understand its motives,” Vincenti was quoted as saying.
In 1911 the masterpiece by the Renaissance master was stolen from the Louvre and was recovered two years later in a hotel room in Florence.
Before it was returned to the Louvre, the Mona Lisa, called ‘La Gioconda’ in Italian, was briefly exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery and in Rome.