There were extraordinary scenes at the world-famous Louvre museum today when a French art expert was challenged about his policy concerning the Mona Lisa.
Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic masterpiece of the young woman with the mysterious smile has been in France since the artist took it there early in the sixteenth century.
Now an Italian art historian, Prof Silvano Vinceti, who is looking for the resting places of the women believed to have posed for the painting, is campaigning to have the painting loaned to Florence.
But Vincent Pomarede, of the Louvre, dismisses the idea, arguing that moving the painting would cause incalculable damage and was not worth the risk.
EIF News & Features art correspondent Proserpine Gainsborough-Halfwit was in Paris today so we sent her to speak to M Pomarede.
She writes: "M Pomarede was very polite and agreed to see me with a photographer by the Mona Lisa.
"When I explained to him that Signor Vinceti was confident that all possible precautions would be taken to ensure the painting's safety... well, he put his fingers in his ears, started jumping up and down and singing 'Non, non, non! Je n'écoute pas, je n'écoute pas.*'
"He then ran away from us, still singing, with his fingers in his ears. We chased after him and caught up with him in the big paintings room by Liberty Leading the People but he called some security staff to have us escorted from the building!"
(*Trans. "No, no, no! I'm not listening, I'm not listening." We're pretty sure, anyway.)