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Earlier this month Italy’s Culture Ministry said that it would delay the loan of Sandro Botticelli’s The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala (1481) to the Israel Museum because the timing was “not appropriate.” Following the announcement, Israeli Culture Minister Limor Livnat did all she could to assure her Italian counterpart that there was no danger in the artwork going on view in Israel. While many speculated that Italy’s decision to delay the loan was due to conflict in Syria, museum officials claimed that conservation issues were to blame for the near postponement.

Ultimately, on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the work went on view at the Israel Museum as planned. The Annunciation is a large fresco that was originally painted on a hospital wall in Florence. After suffering significant damage, it was removed in 1920 and transferred to the Uffizi Gallery, where it underwent restoration. James Snyder, the Israel Museum’s director, said that the work has a deep connection to the Holy Land since the annunciation story took place in Nazareth, and “the landscape in the fresco is the landscape of this ancient land.”  

The loan is part of celebrations in honor of Israel’s 65th anniversary.

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