Ukraine recovers stolen Caravaggio painting

09:09, June 30, 2010      

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Three Ukrainian citizens and a German were arrested in Germany after trying to sell an oil painting by 17th century Italian artist Caravaggio stolen from a Ukrainian museum, Ukraine's Interior Minister Anatoly Mogylyov announced here on Tuesday.

"Ukrainian and German police detained three citizens of Ukraine and one resident of Germany in Berlin on June 25 and seized the painting "The Taking of Christ," or "The Judas Kiss, stolen from a museum in the Black Sea port of Odessa in 2008," Mogylyov told a briefing in Kiev.

This theft group had been active in Ukraine for several years, stealing large objects of art. "Twenty searches have been conducted in which their role in 20 major robberies in Ukraine has been proven," the minister said, adding there are no museum employees among those detained. Preparations have begun to transport the work back to Ukraine, Mogylyov noted. The painting had been bought by a Russian ambassador to France and presented as a gift to a Russian prince before being turned over to the Odessa museum last century.

Doubts had been expressed about the painting's authenticity, but Soviet art experts in the 1950s confirmed the work was indeed by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It underwent restoration work in 2006.

A version of the same painting by Caravaggitao hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

Source: Xinhua


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