Tokyo Loves da Vinci

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about the protests surrounding the loan of Leonardo da Vinci’s the Annunciation to the Tokyo National Museum for three months. The loan generated massive protests in Italy. Italian Senator Peolo Amato even chained himself to the entrance to the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

The loan went forward, and in this week’s annual gallery attendance rundown in the Art Newspaper, the work attracted over 10,000 visitors per day, the highest daily average for any exhibition since the Art Newspaper began compiling such statistics in 1997. The full table is here.

The attendance is impressive, and it’s worth noting that though there may be small risks associated with transporting a work like this, perhaps the trade-off is worth it to earn revenue, but more importantly perhaps, to allow Japanese to experience an important Italian work of art.

There are indications though that the work is not entirely a work of da Vinci, but he may have finished a work by Domenico Ghirlandaio, a fellow apprentice in the same workshop as Leonardo. As such, in 1869, soon after the work came to the Uffizi from a monastery in Monteoliveto, it was recognized as perhaps an early work by da Vinci, who probably inserted the angel on the left of the work. A detail of the angel is pictured above.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

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