22:59 GMT03 December 2020
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    What may seem like an innocent joke to some may turn out to be an insult to others. The Louvre Museum has infuriated Italians by dressing the iconic Mona Lisa in a French team jersey.

    After France beat Croatia 4-2 in an action-packed World Cup final on Sunday, the Louvre Museum's official Twitter account posted a doctored image of Mona Lisa wearing a France jersey.

    The joke provoked a series of furious Tweets from Italians, with many arguing that the Italian painting was used improperly by the museum.

    A Twitter user called the Mona Lisa "an ultimate expression of historical and cultural context that France cannot boast," being "outraged by the improper use" of the Italian masterpiece.

    Another said: "La Gioconda [the picture's alternate name] will ALWAYS be ITALIAN. It doesn't matter if he [Da Vinci] sold it or donated it. The origin is the only thing that matters."

    Someone else joked: "When French want to show something beautiful, rest assured that that 'something' is Italian."

    A person added: "To celebrate you use an Italian painting. Useless Ignoramuses. You should hide in shame."

    READ MORE: Da Vinci’s ‘Male Mona Lisa’ Expected to Sell for $100 Million

    The backlash prompted the Louvre's official Twitter account to tweet in Italian that the painting had been sold to France's King Francis I.

    Italian campaigners regularly petition France to give back the masterpiece, which has been on permanent display at the Louvre since 1797.

    The Mona Lisa is considered to be among the most well-known pieces of painted artwork in the world. Commissioned by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, the painting was sold to the French king for 4,000 gold florins, or nearly 14kg of gold, in 1517.

    According to Guinness World Records, the Mona Lisa is the world's highest valued painting (assessed at $100m for insurance purposes in 1962). Taking inflation into account, that amount would be around the $800 million mark as of 2018.

    artwork, portrait, painting, Twitter, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Louvre, Leonardo da Vinci, Italy, Paris, France
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