Officials in Florence have asked France for an exceptional loan, requesting to borrow the Mona Lisa for a 2013 exhibit at the Uffizi.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece has been the source of an international rivalry for centuries. Historians believe that the painting was begun in Italy and later finished in France in the 16th century.
In 1911, an Italian stole the famous painting from the Louvre and smuggled it across the border. The painting was returned, and the man arrested, when he tried to sell the masterpiece to a Florentine antique dealer in 1913.
Before being sent back to France, the recovered painting was briefly put on display at the Uffizi and now, 100 years later, authorities in Florence would like to showcase the Mona Lisa once more.
Florence’s provincial government is supporting the campaign to bring La Giocanda back to Italy. The effort is currently being headed by Silvano Vinceti, the historian who is leading a team of archaeologists searching for Mona Lisa’s remains.
Vinceti says that their goal is to gather 100,000 signatures in order to petition the Italian parliament to appeal directly to the French Ministry of Culture on behalf of the effort.