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Russia requests return of art exhibits in Italy

Russia has requested the return of highly valuable artworks currently on loan to Italian galleries.

The Russian state museum, The Hermitage, in St Petersburg, wrote to the Palazzo Reale gallery in Milan requesting the return of artworks currently on show by the end of the month – including the Venetian painter Titian’s Young Woman with a Feathered Hat.

The museum’s director said the artworks would be returned, but that the Russian request made him feel bitter because “culture should be protected from war,” Reuters said.

Another gallery in Milan, Gallerie d’Italia, told Reuters it had received a request to return 23 artworks on loan from three Russian museums.

Similar requests have reached Casa Cavazzini gallery in Udine and the Fendi Foundation in Rome, said Reuters.

The Italian ministry is compiling a list of works belonging to Italian museums and cultural institutions that are currently on loan in Russia, a Rome government official said, according to Wall Street Journal. No decision has been made as to whether there will be a formal request for their return earlier than previously agreed.

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