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Message from the Community Police Directorate

Message from the Community Police Directorate

Community partnership is a principle the community police follow, to achieve and support their goals through direct communication between security bodies and the community.   The c...

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World News

12 Sep 2019

Leonardo da Vinci may have painted another 'Mona Lisa.' Now, there's a legal battle over who owns it.jpg

Leonardo da Vinci may have painted another 'Mona Lisa.' Now, there's a legal battle over who owns it.jpg
CNN:

With her straight dark hair and beguiling smile, the so-called "Isleworth Mona Lisa" bears an uncanny resemblance to her namesake in the Louvre.

To some experts, these similarities suggest the painting is a mere copy, though a handful of art historians believe it to be an earlier, unfinished version by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
This debate has raged for decades. But now the portrait stands at the center of a new dispute: an impending legal battle over its ownership. And if 2017's record-breaking sale of another disputed Leonardo -- the "Salvator Mundi," whose authentication is still hotly debated -- is anything to go by, there could be millions of dollars at stake.
Known to some as the "Earlier Mona Lisa," the painting has spent much of the past five decades hidden in a Swiss bank vault. Acquired by a secretive consortium in 2008, the painting has since been shown in a number of galleries, most notably in Singapore in 2014 and Shanghai two years later.
Then, in June, it went on display at Florence's Palazzo Bastogi -- the first time it has been seen in public in Europe this century. As the show came to its conclusion, an anonymous claimant made a dramatic legal grab for a quarter ownership of the artwork.
The claimant's lawyer, Giovanni Battista Protti (who, during a telephone interview, would only describe his client as a "distinguished European family"), says he has historical evidence showing that the painting's former owner agreed to sell a 25% stake in the artwork that was subsequently inherited by his client. Worried that the painting will disappear back into storage in Switzerland, Protti has asked a Florence court to sequester it -- essentially impounding the artwork in Italy -- while its ownership is investigated. The request will be heard by the court on Monday.
The owners -- or majority owners, in Protti's view -- remain anonymous, and thus could not be contacted for response. But a Zurich-based organization called the Mona Lisa Foundation, created to research the painting's history (while insisting that it is "distinct and separate" from the owners), said in an email that the family's case is "without merit." The Mona Lisa Foundation has confirmed to CNN that it will be participating in the court hearing.

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