At the opening ceremony at the banners hall in the Quirinal Palace the Russian head of state recalled that it was the third time since 1865 that “Madonna Litta” had left the Hermitage. The first time was during the Second World War when the painting had to be urgently evacuated because there were real fears for its safety. The second time was when the painting was brought to Milan in the late 1980s.
The current exposition in Rome reciprocates the Italian move which brought Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” to Moscow in 2000.
Vladimir Putin thanked Carlo Ciampi for the opportunity to again put the painting on display in the country of its creator and noted that many cultural exchanges lay ahead, including the “Russia-Italy through the Centuries” exhibition co-sponsored by the Presidents of the two countries.
Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting will be on public display from November 7 to December 10, 2003.