French mayor urges Madonna to loan cityscape lost in World War I

French mayor urges Madonna to loan cityscape lost in World War I

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Brigitte Fouré, the mayor of a town and commune in northern France, sat in front of a print of a magnificent neoclassical painting and turned through the camera to an unexpected recipient.

“Madonna,” Fouré began addressing the pop superstar, “You probably don’t know the city of Amiens, of which I have the honor of mayor. In the last few days, however, a special bond has developed between you and the city.”

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

And now the city wants it back on loan as it seeks to be named the “European Capital of Culture” for 2028 by the European Union. It’s a designation that involves a celebration of art and heritage and usually boosts tourism.

But it’s unclear if Madonna bought the painting in the first place – or if what she claims to have is just a replica.

This month, French newspaper Le Figaro published an account of the painting’s history, stating that Madonna apparently acquired it at a New York auction 34 years ago. Representatives for the singer did not respond to requests for comment.

Sotheby’s assistant press secretary Adrienne DeGisi told the Washington Post that the art company and the broker could not comment on who bought the painting. A copy of the original October 1989 catalog provided by DeGisi describes the painting sold by Sotheby’s as a “replica” with the same title and identical dimensions to the original Langlois painting, “now destroyed.”

The retail price at the time, she added, was $440,000. The catalog entry also cites the artist’s descendant, Marianne Froté-Langlois, who, according to DeGisi, “believed the painting to be a recreation of the lost Amiens original.”

Le Figaro said a museum curator spotted the painting in a picture of Madonna’s house published in 2015 by Paris Match, a weekly magazine. For a long time it was considered untraceable – or was even destroyed in the war.

However, the newspaper noted that the painting lacked a signature and stamp. It was also reported that the dimensions of the original painting and the one 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 built by Louis XVIII in the early 19th century. was commissioned and was to hang in Versailles, Le Figaro reported.

Fouré urged the residents of Amiens to heed their call to bring the painting home for a while.

“Amienois, Amiénis, you also have a role to play,” she said in the video. “Massively share this message so it reaches Madonna! I count on you!”