Amiens, France, is not a stop on Madonna's newly announced world tour, but it's a city that has a particular interest in the singer. That's because, as the mayor of Amiens explains, the city believes Madonna has in her possession a 19th-century painting that once hung in the Amiens museum. The painting Diana and Endymion, which went on display in what is now the Musée de Picardie in 1878, was though to have been painted by Jérôme-Martin Langlois at the bequest of Louis XVIII to hang in the Salon of Diane at the Palace of Versailles.
The painting vanished during WWI. The museum's art was whisked away for safe-keeping before the city was bombed for 28 straight days in 1918, but when the art was returned afterward, the Langlois was not among the works. Le Figaro recently reported that it seems a near-identical painting was auctioned in New York in 1989. It was not attributed to Langlois and was purchased by Madonna for $1.3 million. The painting that was sold measures about an inch smaller than the original, "leading experts to wonder if it is the original with the signature and date removed or a copy," per the Guardian.
"Clearly, we don’t contest in any way that you have acquired this work legally," Mayor Brigitte Fouré said in a video message to Madonna. "Could you lend us this work for the occasion of our bid to become European capital of culture in 2028 so our local inhabitants can rediscover this work and enjoy it?" The EU will in December name the 2028 European capital of culture, and Amiens is in the running. Reuters notes Madonna will be not even two hours away from Amiens in November, when she performs for two nights in Paris on her "The Celebration Tour." (Read more stolen art stories.)