Poussin attack - Leonardo exhibition at risk?

July 25 2011

Image of Poussin attack - Leonardo exhibition at risk?

Picture: Guardian

Interesting story in the Independent yesterday about the Poussin attack at the National Gallery - now there are concerns that the loan of Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine could be at risk. The Czartoryski Trust, which owns the picture, is in negotiations with the gallery:

Olga Jaros, who took over as chairman of the foundation, confirmed that a decision had yet to be made, and that a contract has yet to be signed with the National Gallery. "In the light of what happened last weekend at the National Gallery, I have informed the foundation what has happened. We are still in negotiations."

Even before Saturday's attack, concerns had been voiced over the painting's hectic schedule. It is at present on loan to the Palacio Real in Madrid for an exhibition of Polish art treasures. It is then scheduled to visit Berlin before travelling to London.

Obviously, there's a significant difference in risk between a Leonardo in a reinforced glass box, and an un-glazed Poussin. So I hope the Leonardo lenders don't overreact. 

The most worrying aspect, however, is the news that buget cuts have led to a reduction in security guards at the National Gallery, with some having to monitor two rooms. This, if true, is cause for concern - really the protection of the paintings is the National Gallery's number one duty. But I'm afraid that, having seen some of the guards at work, and the ease with which the Poussin was vandalised, a more thorough security overhaul is required. 

David Packwood at Art History Today also discusses the problem here

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