George Clooney talks rot about art
Oh, George. The coffee salesman and occasional actor, whose new film just had its arse handed to it by The LEGO Movie, is once again devoting time to his favourite hobby – meddling.
Whilst promoting The Monuments Men, the story of a group of curators and art historians sent into wartorn Europe to rescue works of art from Nazi collectors, Clooney has allowed himself to be drawn into the endless row over whether or not Britain should return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. There is at least a debate to be had there, since we obtained them through a slightly dodgy deal with the Ottoman Empire and they don’t really belong in London (although if they were still in Greece they’d obviously have been sold off by now, but whatever). None of his business really, but an interesting and vaguely relevant discussion for him to get involved in. Unfortunately, Clooney’s now gone one step further by calling for the return of the Mona Lisa to its ‘native’ Italy, which is also where he lives.
Let’s look at the facts here. The Mona Lisa is in France because, having started the painting in his native Florence, Leonardo Da Vinci was invited to work in France, which he did. Then he died, and his assistant sold the painting to the then King of France (which was an actual country in the early 16th century, unlike Italy), and it’s been in France ever since because THEY BOUGHT THE BASTARD THING. If anyone’s at fault here, it’s Piero Soderini, who was running Florence when Da Vinci left – if he’d offered the artist a castle or whatever, then maybe he would have stayed and kept La Joconde in proto-Italy. There just isn’t an argument here; yes, the Mona Lisa is very famous, and it was painted by a Florentine, but why on earth should France give it back?
George Clooney’s an idiot. You heard it here first.