Taxpayer could pay £1.5 billion if Leonardo da Vinci paintings are harmed during ground-breaking National Gallery exhibition
The National Gallery’s Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at The Court of Milan is set to make art history as the most complete display of rare surviving paintings ever held. But while the artworld is all a-flutter with anticipation, few are aware of the colossal economic blow that the exhibition could deliver to the British tax payer, if any harm was to come to the nine da Vinci paintings during their trip to ol’ Blighty.
It has been revealed that if the works are stolen or damaged during their time in the National Gallery, the British tax payer could be asked to pay an unbelievable £1.5 billlion. But rest assured, as the paintings are correspondingly under the highest possible protection. Each of the works, for example, will be encased in specially-reinforced glass cases to deter thieves and protect them from accident for the duration of the exhibition.
The public has voted with their feet, furthermore, that the privilege of having Leonardo’s works here in Britain, is well worth the risk. This is demonstrated by the unprecedented number of tickets for Leonardo – greater, apparently, than any previous exhibition in the Gallery’s history. To cope with the colossal demand, the National Gallery is planning to hold special late-night openings, and even open on New Year’s Day!
Given that Leonardo is believed to have painted as little as 20 paintings during his lifetime – and that only 15 have survived to the present day – the nine set to be on display at the National Gallery is an incredible feat. Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan is the first exhibition of its kind anywhere in the world. The show will focus on the artist’s 18-year career as a court painter in Milan, working for the city’s ruler Ludovico Maria Sforza during the 1480s and 1490s. It has been created through a network of international loans, and the majority of the works have never been seen before in the UK.