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Clooney praised in Florence for pumping Mona Lisa return

Advocates want world's most famous painting 'home' for exhibit

28 February, 14:54
Clooney praised in Florence for pumping Mona Lisa return (ANSA) - Florence, February 28 - George Clooney's claim that France should return the Mona Lisa to Italy was welcomed in Florence on Friday.

"It strengthens our campaign," said Silvano Vinceti, speaking on behalf of the committee petitioning to bring the world's most famous painting back to where Leonardo Da Vinci executed it around 1518, only later to be purchased by French King Francis I.

While promoting his new film Monuments Men earlier this month, the Hollywood star made the comments in Milan as he and co-stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin and John Goodman posed in front of Leonardo's masterpiece The Last Supper. Vinceti, a noted art sleuth currently leading a highly publicized project to identify the sitter for the Mona Lisa, said the remarks meant Clooney had "joined the campaign launched two years ago by our committee". He went on to invite Clooney to recruit other Hollywood stars to support bringing the masterpiece to Florence for one month in honor of the 100th anniversary of its theft from the Louvre and subsequent retrieval. The iconic painting of the woman with the enigmatic smile was displayed only once in Italy, in 1913, after it was stolen by an Italian patriot. Italy has made various requests over the years to return the Louvre centerpiece, either permanently or temporarily. Clooney has also recently advocated that Britain should return the Parthenon marbles to Athens.