May 15, 2017

Art Held Hostage: Italy's Carabinieri issue its new online bulletin of stolen works of art


Since 1972 Italy's Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale has published a periodic bulletin that has proven to be a valuable tool towards raising awareness and working to combat illicit trafficking and the theft of works of art.

In his opening comments on their 38th edition, released today, Brig. Gen. Fabrizio Parrulli, Carabinieri TPC Commander stated

"We believe that what has been stolen must not be considered as lost forever. On the contrary, we regard it as held hostage by offenders who can and must be defeated by the Italian and the international police force, together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage Activities and Tourism, the art dealers and all the citizens."

Under the general's guidance and oversight, this year's "Art Held Hostage", was coordinated and developed by Lt. Col. Roberto Colasanti, the Carabinieri TPC Chief of Staff working with Maj. Luigi Spadari, the Carabinieri TPC Data Processing Unit Commander.  Targeted towards those who protect cultural heritage, academics working in the field and the art market itself, the Art Squad's bulletin includes descriptions and images of the main works of art stolen in Italy during the past year which have not yet been recovered.

Objects in the bulletin are sorted in categories, identifying
- the artist or school (such as "attributed to", "workshop of", "copy by", etc.);
- title or subject of the work;
- material and technique;
- size;
- The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage database reference number.

and where possible, images of whatever quality is available in the objects documentation records.  

This year's bulletin highlights a total of 99 stolen works of art.  It also lists an additional 40 objects that have been recovered during the last year from bulletins 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 35 and 37.   Not a bad recovery rate and one that proves having good documentation increases the probability that a stolen work of art can be located and recovered. 

Fabrizio Rossi
Luogotenente presso Arma dei Carabinieri
Image Credit: UNESCO
Several of the objects listed as recovered in today's bulletin, like the Castellani jewellry collection, stolen in a dramatic theft to order heist from the Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia in Rome and the marble head of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus stolen from Hadrian's Villa, and recovered in the Netherlands, have been covered on this blog.  

Ancient Roman sarcophagus worth $4 million returned to Italy in 2014 after being stolen in 1981.


“Sansone” by Jacopo Tintoretto stolen November 19, 2015 from the
Verona Civic Museum of Castelvecchio with the exhibition curator

Peplophoros Statue Stolen from the Villa Torlonia in Rome in 1983



2 comments:

Did they ever recover any art from the art auction?

Paradoxically no. The objects listed in the bulletins are objects known to be stolen. For example an Athenian red-figured amphora looted from a tomb in Tuscany (totally unknown to scholarship and the authorities) would not have been listed in these annual reports while a painting stolen from a museum (presumably recorded and certainly known) would. Therefore when a seizure occurs, these are not listed in the recovery page because that page is reserved for recoveries of objects listed in previous bulletins.

Post a Comment