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Country of Origin: Italy
Museum: The Louvre

“By 1705, Paolo Veronese’s Wedding Feast at Cana / Nozze di Cana (1563), a sprawling 32-foot-long painting depicting the famed biblical episode, was drawing so many visitors that the Bendectine monks at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice had to start capping how many people could see in a given span of time. What those monks didn’t know is that, less than 100 years later, the painting would be leaving Venice for good. In 1797, Napoleon’s troops hauled the painting back to France as war booty, along with four bronze horses (The Horses of St. Marks).

Because of the painting’s size, it was cut into pieces and restitched upon its arrival in France. It can now be seen at the Louvre, where it ranks among the museum’s many treasures. Although the legality of the situation has been settled—an 1815 exchange that saw a work by Charles Le Brun head from France to Italy cleared that up—the plundering continues to rankle Venetians, who have made various failed attempts to reclaim the work.” – ARTnews


1815: “After the fall of Napoleon, the Venetians demanded the repatriation of the painting and, in 1815, appointed the sculptor Antonio Canova to go to Paris to negotiate for the restitution of purloined works of art, which he did with considerable skill.

When it came to Veronese’s painting, however, his negotiations were ineffective: as he wrote to his friend in Venice, Leopoldo Cicognara, a multitalented and accomplished diplomat, the topic of Veronese and his painting never even came up for discussion during the negotiations. Unfortunately, and without the consultation of Canova, the Austrian Emperor Francis I, the ruler of Venetia following the Congress of Vienna, had accepted France’s proposal to trade Veronese’s painting for an insignificant work by Charles Le Brun.” – Gazetta di Nittardi

Unknown date: “The later demand of the Venetians for the painting’s repatriation was rejected by the directorate of the Louvre on the pretext that the heavily-damaged painting was too fragile to survive the journey to Venice. Thereby, they omitted to mention the grave damages resulting from the callous theft of the painting, during which the canvas was cut into segments and carelessly transported. Ultimately, and regardless of entitlement, Italy went without the original and decided, at the beginning of the 21st century, for a digital facsimile produced through scanner technology.” – Gazetta di Nittardi

2007: “In 2007, 210 years after the looting of this painting, a computer-generated digital facsimile of The Wedding Feast at Cana was hung in the Palladian refectory of the Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.” – Joy of Museums