The mayor of Amiens begs Madonna to lend him a painting lost in World War I



Seated in front of a printout of a large neoclassical painting, Brigitte Fouré, mayor of a town and commune in northern France, appealed to an unexpected recipient through the camera.

“Madonna,” Fouré began, addressing the pop superstar, “you probably don’t know the city of Amiens, of which I have the honor of being mayor. However, in recent days a special connection has been established between you and the city.”

that connection? Madonna, Fouré said, may have bought in 1989 a 19th-century work of art, “Diana and Endymion” by Jérôme-Martin Langlois, which disappeared from the Amiens museum of fine arts more than a century ago amid heavy bombardment from World . war i

And now, the city wants it back on loan, as it seeks to be named the “European Capital of Culture” by 2028 by the European Union. It’s a designation that includes a celebration of arts and heritage, and one that typically generates a boost in tourism.

But it’s not clear if Madonna bought the painting, or if what she supposedly has is simply a replica.

This month, the French newspaper Le Figaro published a report on the painting’s history, saying it was Madonna’s apparent acquisition at auction in New York 34 years ago. Representatives for the singer did not respond to requests for comment.

Sotheby’s Associate Press Director Adrienne DeGisi told The Washington Post that the fine art company and the broker could not comment on who purchased the painting. A copy of the original October 1989 catalogue, provided by DeGisi, describes the painting sold by Sotheby’s as a “replica” with the same title and identical dimensions of the original Langlois painting, “now destroyed”.

The sale price at the time, he added, was $440,000. The catalog entry also cites the artist’s descendant, Marianne Froté-Langlois, whom DeGisi said she “considered the painting to be a replica of the lost Amiens original.”

Le Figaro said a museum curator saw the painting in an image of the interior of Madonna’s home published by Paris Match, a weekly magazine, in 2015. It had long been considered untraceable, or even destroyed in the war.

The newspaper noted, however, that the painting lacked a signature and seal. He also reported that the dimensions of the original painting and the one that was sold differed by about 3 centimeters or 1.2 inches.

The painting depicts three figures: the Roman goddess Diana, the shepherd prince Endymion, and a small Cupid-like figure floating between them. It was commissioned by Louis XVIII in the early 19th century and was intended to be hung in Versailles, Le Figaro reported.

Fouré urged Amiens residents to echo his call to bring the painting home for a while.

“Amienois, Amiénis, you also have a role to play,” he said in the video. “Share this message massively so that it reaches Madonna! I’m counting on you!”

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