In 1917, Stravinsky met the great artist Pablo Picasso in Italy. While visiting him, Picasso drew a picture of Stravinsky. Igor packed it in his luggage to bring back to Switzerland.
When the customs officer inspected the suitcase, he thought the portrait was a spy plan. Their conversation went like this:
“What is this sketch?”
“My portrait drawn by Picasso.”
“Nonsense. It must be a plan.”
“Yes – the plan of my face.”
The official believed that Stravinsky was a spy carrying a secret military plan.
The composer called on his friends at the British Embassy to identify him and get the picture back.