Skip To Content
Breaking News

Syria Chaos Puts Off Loan of 15th-Century Botticelli Fresco to Israel

Concerned by war clouds over Syria, Italy is holding off loaning a 15th century masterpiece by Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli to Israel.

But citing the importance of cultural relations between the two countries, the Italian Culture Ministry said it would soon decide on a work of similar “high cultural and artistic” significance to send to Israel in its place.

Italy was to have shipped Botticelli’s “Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala” to Israel this week, where the work was to have been displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for several months starting Sept. 17, as part of celebrations for Israel’s 65th birthday.

A Culture Ministry communiqué released on Rosh Hashanah said that, because of the current situation in the region, the painting would not be sent this week as had been arranged.

The loan was organized by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where the painting is conserved, and the Italy-Israel Foundation for Culture and the Arts.

Italian Culture Minister Massimo Bray was scheduled to travel to Jerusalem for the inauguration of the exhibition, which also was to have been attended by Israeli Culture Minister Limor Livnat.

The Annunciation is a large fresco painted by Botticelli in 1481 on a wall at the hospital of San Martino alla Scala in Florence. It was removed from the wall there in 1920 and transferred to the Uffizi, where it underwent restoration.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.