Transfer of Botticelli painting bound for Israel on hold due to Syria crisis

Report: Italy cites geopolitical, logistical considerations as reason for delaying move of "The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala."

September 7, 2013 11:10
The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala by Botticelli

The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala by Botticelli. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The expected transference of Sandro Botticelli's "The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala" from Florence to Jerusalem has been postponed due to the Syria conflict, UK news site The Telegraph reported on Friday.

The painting, worth millions, was originally slated to be moved from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, as a gift from Italy to Israel marking Israel's 65th anniversary of statehood. It was a gesture meant to foster growing cultural relations between Italy and Israel.

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According to the report, the Italian culture ministry cited geopolitical and logistical considerations as the reason for the temporarily mooted move.

Though Israeli diplomats have attempted to douse concerns that Syria may strike Israel in retaliation for a possible US military action on Syria, doubts remain, and the 17 by 8 foot fresco will remain in Italy, for now.

The painting depicts a scene from the Christian bible involving the Virgin Mary and the archangel Gabriel, a figure of significance in Judaism.

The report stated that Limor Livnat, the Israeli culture minister, and her Italian counterpart, Massimo Bray, were originally slated to unveil the painting's exhibition during an official ceremony.

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