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At Amboise, Leonardo’s last years paint a picture of Franco-Italian harmony

AMBOISE, Loire Valley, France (Reuters) – Commemorations for Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th anniversary begin this week in Amboise, in the Loire Valley, with France and Italy setting aside recent tensions to honour the memory of the Renaissance genius in the town where he spent his final years.

In 1516, aged 64, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy to enter the service of King Francis I of France. Many of his masterpieces – St. John the Baptist, the Mona Lisa – followed him and were sold to the French monarch, forming a legacy now exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Amid diplomatic tensions between Rome and Paris, his legacy has become contentious, with Italy’s Culture undersecretary Lucia Borgonzoni in November telling Italian media she wanted to renegotiate the planned lending of his works to the Louvre for an anniversary exhibition, because “the French cannot have it all”.

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