The world’s "most wanted" stolen Caravaggio painting can be found by police
They say there is a chance to find a lost artist’s masterpiece with recent events pointing to the artwork being hidden somewhere in Eastern Europe.
The theft occurred the day after the picture was mentioned on a TV show about "forgotten treasures of art," writes Ansa. The theft of the Nativity takes the second place on the FBI’s list of the top ten unsolved art crimes, and the lost painting is often described as the world’s "most wanted."
Since its disappearance in 1969, no one could precisely determine whether it would be possible to return it. The story of an unsuccessful search was filled with intrigue, espionage, and allegations about the mafia involvement.
The painting was considered destroyed soon after its disappearance. Despite this, investigators, both local and international, have never refused to search for lost art.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A team of artists, architects and computer engineers had very little material to work with. Just a slide of a fragment of the painting and some black and white photographs of the 1950s were found in the archives. In order to most accurately reproduce the colors of flowers that Caravaggio used, experts studied three of his canvases in the Roman church of San Luigi dei Francesi, which were supposedly painted at the same time.
Left: Digitized fragment of the copy of "Nativity with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence". Photo: EFE
Then the canvas was transported to Sicily, where it hung for centuries in the chapel of San Lorenzo in Palermo. On the night of October 18, 1969, a picture of 2.68×1.97 meters in size was cut out of the frame by two unknown persons, and since then its fate has been covered in mystery. Among the various theories, there is such: a product worth more than $ 20 million was kept in a stable, where pigs and rats ate it, after which the remains of the canvas were burned. In any case, most experts agree that Cosa Nostra is involved in the crime.
The painting has become "a symbol of the fight against the mafia," a Vatican spokesperson stated, adding that the meeting aimed to "reiterate the opposition to the mafia on the part of the Church" and get the search for the painting back into the public eye.
Alberti described the theft as a "civil and moral wound" that affects the whole of society.
Investigators have recently visited an unspecified city in Eastern Europe in connection with their enquiries, he added, hinting that there could yet be a happy ending to the story.
It appears that the recent investigations have disproved the claims of the repentant mafioso, as well as others before him, finding that he’d got it confused with another painting stolen from a Palermo church a year later.
soon we’ll get to know the stunning news about "the most wanted" art find.