FLORENCE, Italy, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- More than 150,000 people have signed a petition to have Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" returned to Italy from the Louvre museum in Paris.
The campaign to have Leonardo's famous work returned was started by Italy's National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage, along with the province of Florence, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"The committee has officially submitted a request for a meeting with the new French minister of culture, Aurelie Filippetti. I am convinced that, thanks to the minister's Italian origins, she will not only respond positively to our request, she will understand its motives," Committee President Silvano Vincenti said.
The group wants the Mona Lisa, painted by the Italian Renaissance master in the early 16th century, returned in 2013. The painting came into France's possession when King François I bought it from one of Leonardo's pupils, who had inherited it upon the artist's death.
Leonardo had worked in France, where he died in 1519 at age 67.