I’m been reading reports from the Telegraph and the Independent about a consequence of the Poussin incident last Saturday. According to these sources, the attack is causing the Cracow museum to re-consider lending Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine to the NG for its November show. I don’t, for one moment, think this will happen despite Olga Jaros, the newly appointed chairman of the Princes Czartoryski Foundation in Poland, saying there will have to be a “throrough debate” before the painting departs for London. This will be a flagship exhibition for the gallery; there are also a lot of vested interests tied up in it, especially with the inclusion of the recently re-discovered Salvator Mundi work.
According to the Independent, the NG responds. "In regard to the Cecilia Gallerani painting, there is no change" and "The National Gallery is very pleased to work with Olga Jaros, the newly appointed chairwoman of the Czartoryski Foundation, on the loan painting of Lady with an Ermine.”
However, it must be worrying for the Czartoryski Foundation to read that the NG “admits that its staff must now guard two rooms each in at least one third of the gallery after budget cuts.” According to the Telegraph, the NG also say “We were already considering extending the arrangements where an assistant invigilates more than one room, prior to needing to identify savings,” and that their security is “in keeping” with other museums. I’m not qualified to speak on this debate at all, but I suspect the NG will have to bump up security for the Leonardo show, as part of these “negotiations” mentioned in the Independent article. I really don’t envy them having to manage crowds and potential security hazards in this climate.
Meanwhile, back to Poussin. The Independent says: “On Friday, a 57-year-old man was detained under the Mental Health Act following the vandalism of the Poussins.” A little piece of the jigsaw in place. We might get more details in time, or then again, we might not!