Stolen '$100 million' Caravaggio recovered by police
German police have recovered a 400-year-old painting attributed to Italian master Caravaggio worth tens of millions of pounds stolen two years ago from a museum in Ukraine.
In a joint operation on Friday involving German and Ukrainian authorities, police arrested four suspected members of an international band of art thieves as they attempted to sell the stolen painting in Berlin.
Police in Ukraine also arrested 20 further suspects thought involved with the gang.
Experts in Germany have authenticated the masterpiece The Taking of Christ, painted around 1602, as the work stolen from a museum in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa in July 2008.
"The Ukrainian authorities have valued the painting in the tens of millions," the German police statement said.
Some experts cited have said the painting could fetch up to $100 million (£66 million) on the black market.
The source of the work, often also known as the Judas Kiss, has been in doubt in the past.
It was at one time thought to be a copy of a painting on display at the National Gallery in Dublin. But in 1950, a Moscow art expert declared that the painting in Odessa was in fact the work of Caravaggio.
The painting had been bought by a Russian ambassador to France and then given to Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich at the end of the 19th century.
After the Russian Revolution, the painting was given to an art school in Odessa and then the museum.
Art Hostage Comments:Art Hostage slipped this into a post last Tuesday:
Something breathtaking is cooking in the Stolen art arena, will leave all open-mouthed, quote is "Brace yourself"
(Tuesday June 22nd 2010, 10.00am GMT)
Then followed up on Wednesday with this:
There is something very big cooking and about to come to the boil within the art related crime arena.
Will the boil be lanced, or will we be left open-mouthed ???
More to follow...................
So, You wait ages for a bus, then three come along at the same time.
Same with art related crime news, wait a while then a flood of news.
Art Hostage cannot go into detail but further breaking news will emerge very soon.
Paris, UK and "St elsewhere" will feature very big in the art related crime arena very shortly, this week even.
The stolen art merry-go-round is cranking up, with further recoveries and thefts very much on the agenda.
Monkey Business, a clue !!!
Sorry to tease, but it will be worth the short wait !!!!