ROME. Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- A court in the northern Italian region of Veneto has suspended a plan to loan Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic Vitruvian Man to Paris' Louvre Museum.
The famed pen-on-ink drawing -- showing a man in two superimposed positions, legs and arms apart, illustrating the proportions of the human body -- was intended to be the centerpiece of the Louvre's exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo's death. The exhibition is scheduled to open on Oct. 24.
The previous Italian government, which collapsed on Aug. 20, refused to loan any works to the Louvre, arguing that Leonardo's death should be celebrated in Italy, where the Renaissance polymath was born and lived most of his life.
But the new government, in power since Sept. 5, agreed to loan several important Leonardo works as a gesture of goodwill after months of arguments between the two countries on cultural, political, and economic topics. In return, French museums would loan several works from master painter Raphael to Italy to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death in 2020. Now both agreements are in jeopardy.
The Italian Ministry of Culture criticized the decision of the court, saying the process leading up to the loan was "legal and transparent."
The ruling from the Veneto court came after Italian advocacy group Italia Nostra, which opposed the loan because the drawing is so fragile. The drawing, estimated to have been made around 1490, is on permanent display at the Accademia Gallery in Venice, where it is stored in a temperature and light controlled room.