Leonardo at the Louvre, Montanari notes that the Uffizi's Landscape will also leave. And clashes with Schmidt


Three weeks after the Italy-France memorandum for loans to the Louvre was signed, art historian Tomaso Montanari reports to Ansa that the loans include Leonardo da Vinci’s Landscape with River, the first known work by the Tuscan artist and among the rare Renaissance works dated with the day (August 4, 1473). Of course, it was already known that the work was part of the arrangements (and on these pages we had also mentioned it in the editorial of September 25, pointing out the Landscape as one of the masterpieces loaned to the Louvre), but for some reason Montanari’s denunciation comes only today (probably because the drawing left yesterday), and it triggers a clash with the director of the Uffizi, Eike D. Schmidt.

“As a member of the Scientific Committee of the Uffizi Galleries,” Montanari declares, “I am disconcerted by yesterday’s departure from the national territory of a drawing by Leonardo that, under no circumstances, should have been granted a temporary export license.” The art historian reiterates that this is “the first dated work by Leonardo (and dated with an autograph inscription); one of the very few Renaissance and Leonardo works dated ad diem (August 4, 1473). An extraordinarily valuable work that is unquestionably part of the assets that constitute the main fund of a given and organic section of a museum: in this case, one of the most important relics of the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi.” And again Montanari recalls that the Cultural Heritage Code “requires that these goods cannot in any case leave the territory of the Republic.” It will therefore be the judicial authority, according to the art historian, “to assess whether there are profiles of illegality in the patent violation of the Code of Cultural Heritage consummated in Florence. As a citizen, as a full professor of art history in the public university and as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Uffizi Galleries, I strongly protest against this abuse of political power and against the surrendering of those who were called to defend the museum and the law.”

Eike Schmidt’s retort was not long in coming: "It is surprising that Professor Montanari now, three weeks after the publication of the works covered by the agreement between the Italian Republic and the French Republic, which took place a few days before the last meeting of the Scientific Committee, realizes that among them is also sheet 8P, Landscape drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.“ To lend the work, Schmidt continues, ”the Uffizi Galleries slavishly followed administrative liter established by the rules, authorizing the loan of this work also on the basis of the favorable opinion of the Ministry’s General Directorate of Museums.“ Schmidt then recalls that ”this year the Landscape has already gone on display in Vinci in a special exhibition inaugurated on April 15 by President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella,“ and that ”undoubtedly Sheet 8P is among the most important works in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, as, a fortiori, is Verrocchio ’s sculptural group Lincredulit di san Tomaso for the Museo di Orsanmichele continues Eike Schmidt, but the departure of this work for France, which took place about ten days ago as part of the same loan agreement that also concerned Sheet 8P, has not aroused any indignation in the professor."

Schmidt concludes by stating that Montanari’s lack of indignation over the departure of Verrocchio’sIncredulity of St. Thomas would be a “curious contradiction, just as curious is the fact that in the last two meetings of the Scientific Committee, the advisory body of the Museum of which he is a member, which took place on July 23 and September 26, there was, at my instigation, talk above all about the loan policy, but Montanari never raised any question about it or expressed any perplexity about it.”

Image: Leonardo da Vinci, Landscape with River (1473; pen on yellowed white paper, 196 x 287 mm; Florence, Uffizi, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe)

Leonardo at the Louvre, Montanari notes that the Uffizi's Landscape will also leave. And clashes with Schmidt
Leonardo at the Louvre, Montanari notes that the Uffizi's Landscape will also leave. And clashes with Schmidt