Italy Reopens Investigation Into Missing Caravaggio Masterpiece

A copy of "Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco" by Caravaggio hangs where the original was stolen from a church in Sicily.
A copy of "Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco" by Caravaggio hangs where the original was stolen from a church in Sicily.
(via Twitter)

Nearly 50 years have passed since a Caravaggio masterpiece was stolen, in a case considered by the FBI as in the top 10 art crimes worldwide.

Investigators in Italy are now reopening the case of Caravaggio's missing Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco, which was cut from its frame in the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily, in Oct. 1969. Long thought destroyed, the altarpiece may still exist, although in pieces, according to fresh details from an informant.

From the Telegraph:

The National Anti-Mafia Commission now says it has gleaned new information from the “pentito”, or turncoat, that suggests that the painting was stolen, possibly with the help of art experts, and ended up in the hands of two Cosa Nostra bosses, Stefano Bontade and Gaetano Badalamenti [who died in Massachusetts in 2004].

They then smuggled the painting to Switzerland, according to Gaetano Grado, the turncoat.

A Swiss art dealer, who has since died, cut the oil painting into pieces to make it easier to sell on the black market on behalf of the mafia.

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