Caravaggio as diplomatic tool

September 27 2011

Image of Caravaggio as diplomatic tool


Caravaggio's Narcissus has gone on display in Cuba for the first time, at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. The picture belongs to the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome. So far so normal, but there's an interesting political dimension to the loan. From the Independent:

Italy's deputy minister of culture, Ricardo Villardi, said the show was Rome's way of relating to Cuba during a time of change.

"I asked myself how as a government we could accompany the changes, these transformations, that are under way, with respect for (Cuba's) autonomy... and the answer is this exhibition," he said.

His Cuban counterpart, Fernando Rojas, said it was "very appropriate" to show in Cuba the work of "a rebel, an innovator" who reflected the common people in his work "as we Cubans can appreciate that."

Should the British Government raid the National Gallery for a similar exhibition? Send The Haywain to Pyongyang?

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