Art expert Vittorio Sgarbi has a close look at "The Suicide of Cleopatra", a painting by German Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer that was stolen from a museum in central Italy in May 1972, and shown during a press conference to illustrate the recovery of various pieces of stolen art, in Rome Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino.
ROME.- Sixteen paintings that had been stolen at various times from private homes and churches will be back by Christmas, to their rightful owners. The works of art seized by police in September for the protection of cultural heritage have been recovered from the house of a Roman designer and were reported stolen to the public prosecutor of Rome. In his house were found and photographed 180 paintings from various periods, purchased in markets and fairs across Italy, during a period of over 30 years.
"The investigation''- said Lt. Col. Raffaele Mancino - "started by the request of a collector from Rome, who wanted to buy a painting by the Sienese school of the fifteenth century, and it was' directed to this department to verify the legal origin''. Having established that the painting of the 'Suicide of Cleopatra' was included in the database with the command of unlawfully removed cultural property, started off the investigation.
After a thorough investigation it was determined that the painting was stolen on May 28, 1972 from the collection of the Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza, in the province of Siena. The finding allowed the recovery of another fifteen paintings, partial proceeds of ten robberies committed in private homes of Rome, churches and private collections in central Italy, for a value of approximately one million euro.
Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a German painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since. His well-known works include the Apocalypse woodcuts, Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.
Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.