President Vladimir Putin
President Putin,
Jacques Jaujard, director of the Louvre Museum, starts to plan the evacuation of the Mona Lisa
and all the French art collections: we are in 1938, on the eve of World War II. We thought of this
image when the news of the return of the Picasso, guest of our Foundation, to the Hermitage
caught us by surprise.
In delicate moments such as these, where uncertainty, passions and fear intertwine in a
simulacrum we would never have wanted to experience, the ancestral and salvific power of beauty
begins to expire in a distressing domain of a future no longer feasible, but real. Or almost real.
President, we are always unprepared for suffering, albeit we do not fear difficult times. The best
always comes from there. May your mind and your heart contemplate all the possibilities, averting
Yeats’s “The Second Coming”scenario. May God inspire you.

Alda Fendi, President of the Fondazione Alda Fendi – Esperimenti
Raffaele Curi, Artistic Director of the Fondazione Alda Fendi – Esperimenti

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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