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Art Theft

Lost and still not found, a work likely pilfered by the Sicilian mafia.

Screen Shot 2019 07 15 at 23.09.00

Caravaggio 005 1The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting created in 1609 by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio.

 Screen Shot 2019 07 15 at 23.09.00

The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting created in 1609 by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. Recent acquisitions link the painting to that commissioned by Fabio Nuti in April 1600, and thus sent from Rome to Palermo.

It was stolen on October 18, 1969 from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily.

The painting, which hung above the altar, was large, measuring almost six square metres (actual size 268 cm x 197 cm). 105 inches by 78 inches.

Probably because of its size, it was removed from its frame by the thief or thieves (two suspected) before being taken out of the church. After it was stolen, the Oratory was pillaged of other art, along with choir stalls of carved and gilded wood and benches inlaid with precious woods and mother of pearl.

The local Sicilian Mafia are generally considered to be the prime culprits in the theft although nobody actually knows who committed the crime. The whereabouts of the work remain unknown to this day. Rumors of its destruction during the theft, or subsequently in a 1980 earthquake, have circulated from time to time, as has the more recent rumor that the masterpiece has gone abroad. 

 Screen Shot 2019 07 15 at 23.09.00

You may also like to read:

* The 'kidnapped' Caravaggio: how the mafia took a razor blade to a masterpiece 

* Rediscovered Caravaggio painting expected to fetch $171 million at auction

* Caravaggio has a real buyer

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