“Mona Lisa” Controversy: Court Rules Against Heirs of Leonardo da Vinci

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.15 - 2024 7:39 AM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
French court rejects claim by Da Vinci's alleged heirs to return the 'Mona Lisa'.

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The Supreme Administrative Court of France has dismissed a lawsuit by the organization International Restitutions, which sought to transfer ownership of Leonardo da Vinci's iconic painting "Mona Lisa" from the Louvre Museum to the alleged heirs of the artist.

The court also imposed a fine of 3,000 euros on the organization for the legal action.

According to AFP, International Restitutions filed the lawsuit claiming that the "Mona Lisa" was wrongfully taken by King Francis I of France in 1519.

They argued that the painting should be removed from the Louvre, where it has been displayed since 1797, and returned to its "rightful owners."

The French court found the lawsuit to be unlawful and stated that it should not make judgments on decisions taken during the French monarchy.

The court's ruling emphasized that the "Mona Lisa" has been in France legally since 1516, when Leonardo da Vinci moved from Italy and became under the patronage of Francis I. In exchange for financial support, da Vinci offered the king his artworks, including the "Mona Lisa," which later became part of the royal collections.

The painting remains one of the most celebrated and protected pieces in the Louvre, showcased behind special protective glass due to its immense popularity and historical value.

In January, environmental protesters targeted the painting, dousing it with soup to promote "healthy and sustainable food." Previously, another visitor attempted to vandalize the artwork by throwing cake at it.

Following these events, there has been talk within the Louvre about potentially housing the "Mona Lisa" in a separate room to enhance security and visitor experience.

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