Police find stolen Leonardo copy museum did not know was missing – The Guardian

Tue 19 Jan 2021 15.01 GMT

Italian police has discovered a 500-year-old copy of Leonardo da Vincis Salvator Mundi in a Naples flat and returned it to a museum that had no concept it had actually been stolen.Officers said late Monday they had actually arrested the 36-year-old owner of the flat on suspicion of getting taken products, after the painting was discovered in his bed room cupboard.Depicting Jesus Christ with his hand raised in a blessing and holding a crystal orb, the painting becomes part of the Doma Museum collection at the San Domenico Maggiore church in Naples.Leonardo da Vincis Salvator Mundi was offered for a record $450m at auction in 2017. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty ImagesIt is a copy of Leonardos work that in 2017 ended up being the most costly painting ever offered, bring $450m (₤ 330m) at a Christies auction.But the museum has been shut for months due to coronavirus limitations and no one had reported it missing.
“The painting was discovered on Saturday thanks to a diligent and brilliant authorities operation,” said Naples prosecutor Giovanni Melillo.”There was no grievance on the matter and in reality we contacted the (church) prior, who was not familiar with its disappearance, as the room where the painting is kept has actually not been open for 3 months.”The oil painting is believed to be by the artist Giacomo Alibrandi and dates to the early 1500s. Cops are now investigating how it was taken as there was no sign of a burglary, Melillo said.”Whoever took the painting wanted it, and it possible that it was a commissioned theft by an organisation working in the international art trade,” he added.Leonardos Salvator Mundi has not been seen in public considering that its record-breaking sale and some professionals doubt its credibility.

“The painting was discovered on Saturday thanks to a brilliant and thorough cops operation,” said Naples prosecutor Giovanni Melillo.”There was no complaint on the matter and in reality we got in touch with the (church) prior, who was not mindful of its disappearance, as the space where the painting is kept has not been open for 3 months.”The oil painting is thought to be by the artist Giacomo Alibrandi and dates to the early 1500s. Police are now investigating how it was taken as there was no sign of a break-in, Melillo stated.”Whoever took the painting desired it, and it plausible that it was a commissioned theft by an organisation working in the international art trade,” he added.Leonardos Salvator Mundi has not been seen in public considering that its record-breaking sale and some specialists doubt its credibility.

Italy
Museum shut due to coronavirus was unaware that 500-year-old Salvator Mundi had been missing
Agence France-Presse in Rome

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