With tensions high in the Mediterranean over Syria, Italy has decided it's not the right time to send a Botticelli masterpiece on loan to Israel.
Italy's culture ministry said Thursday it has decided against transporting the 15th-century "The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala" from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where it was supposed to go on display for several months starting September 17. The ministry cited geopolitical and logistical considerations.
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The painting, with exquisite detail and dreamy colors, measures about 5.5 meters by 2.5 meters (17 feet by more than 8 feet).
The ministry, citing the importance of Italian-Israeli relations, expressed hope that the Renaissance work would soon go on display in Jerusalem.
The painting was supposed to arrive in Israel to celebrate the launching of the Italy-Israel Foundation for Culture and the Arts, as Florence's Uffizi Gallery's New Year’s gift to celebrate 65 years of the country’s independence.
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