Tokyo Fuji Art Museum Donates "Tavola Doria" to Italy
In a joint statement released on November 27 in Rome, Italy, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM) and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities announced that they have formally concluded an agreement of long-term cooperation, as well as TFAM's donation to the Italian Republic of a major 16th-century painting known as the "Tavola Doria."
An oil on panel (86x115 cm) painting, the Tavola Doria depicts a key scene of the design for the wall painting of the Battle of Anghiari that Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint for the Palazzo Vecchio's Hall of the Five Hundred in Florence, Italy.
Under terms of the agreement, the Italian ministry will loan the Tavola Doria to TFAM for exhibitions to be held in both Japan and abroad. The work will initially be exhibited in Italy until June 30, 2014, and then transferred to Japan for display for four years. The two parties also agreed to cooperate in exhibiting acclaimed Italian artworks in Japan and TFAM's collection of premier Japanese art in Italy, paving the way to a broader, more diverse range of cultural exchanges in the future.
Dr. Roberto Cecchi, Under-Secretary of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, declared that his ministry was "thrilled" by the work's return to Italy. "We are immensely grateful to the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum for their most generous donation and look forward to our cooperation with the Museum" in the years to come, he said. "Japan is a country of great culture and we are pleased that we will be able to exhibit Italian paintings there and Japanese art here in Italy."
In a statement, TFAM Director Akira Gokita commented: "We are proud and pleased that we were able to donate the Tavola Doria to Italy. We believe the return of the painting to its country of origin, as well as research on the work and its exhibition to the general public, to be highly meaningful. We are also delighted to be able to organize important exhibitions of Italian art in Japan over the next several years and to cooperate with the Ministry on cultural exchanges on an expanded level."
Under the direction of the Florence-based Opificio delle Pietre Dure, a global authority on art restoration and conservation, experts will conduct further scientific research and critical evaluation of the work and the manifold questions that surround it, including the nature of its connection to Leonardo himself.
On November 28, President Giorgio Napolitano of the Italian Republic and his wife Clio Maria Bittoni viewed the Tavola Doria in Rome, where it was exhibited in a special hall of the Quirinal Palace, the Italian president's official residence.
The event was a precursor to a public viewing at the Quirinal Palace, which is scheduled to run until January 13, 2013, when the painting will move to Florence. The exhibition also features a digital imagery system in which sketches by Leonardo da Vinci are displayed and viewers can call up scientific research and examination of the displayed work, enabling them to juxtapose the Tavola Doria with related da Vinci artworks.
The Tokyo Fuji Art Museum was founded in 1983 by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda to bring the treasures of the world's cultural heritage to Japan. The museum also engages in cultural exchange, making its own collection available to museums throughout the world.
[Adapted from reports from Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM); photos courtesy of TFAM]