Monday, April 15

Who is stealing the great statues of Italy?

Which could be the title of a fabulous upcoming film.  It seems that the economic crisis  has brought out the worst in people, and now those nefarious thieves have set their sights on statues and churches (that is, if you believe the papers) --They have always had their sights on statues and churches, just check out the number of headless statues there are around town (or in the world's top museums, for that matter.)  A stunning Raphael now in the Galleria Borghese was made when another scene was purloined from the church who had commissioned it.
In any case, there seems to be a lot of heists these days - this jury's still out on whether it's that they're just getting reported more, or if it's something to be truly worried about.  [Although, given how hard it is to actually sell a piece of fine art on the open market, you might want to pull off an amazing heist right out of Hollywood like the recent one in which the thieves overturned a truck, stopped a truck filled with money, setting off smokebombs - and escaping by helicopter with millions].
So, here's a quick rundown on statue stealing in just the first few months of 2013 -- But, if you are to judge by what they've taken, actually, thieves need a quick course in Art History 101:
  • ROME - The beheading of one of Rome's 'Talking Statues' was probably an attempt to silence our Magistrate or Abbot Luigi.  He held fort in a small garden next to the centrally located (and busy) Basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Valle.  He was even fenced in of late due to restoration works.  But, why the confusion of identity?  Because he had already lost his head a few other times in the past.  The one they took was a 1800s copy (not of original head) and probably not worth so much either. 
  • In Lipari, an island off the coast of Sicily, someone had the audacity to take the Madonna Addolorata's earrings, pin and ampules from the Church of Santa Margherita.  While valuable, they left other, more valuable pieces behind.  One man was quoted as hoping his Saint is a punitive one at that. 
  • In Varese, it was all the gold off the Madonna of the Rosary and in Crema in the north, they made off with her rosary, ex voto, and rings.
  • In Brindisi, they took off with the Madonna Addolorata's crown and her knife - but turns out, these were made in shiny bronze.  Her golden ornaments are sewed onto her robes and were left behind.
    • While I don't condone any of this, my favorite caper was from this statue here, in Latina.  Not being a Madonna, what do you think they made off with?  The bronze spectacles.

    Another commented dryly..."Who knows what they'll use them for - though I know what I'd use them for... "

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