• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Stolen 'Caravaggio' likely a copy, experts say

DPA/The Local · 30 Jun 2010, 15:19

Published: 30 Jun 2010 15:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Police announced Monday they had seized the painting, "The Taking of Christ," last Friday and arrested four suspected members of an international group of art thieves as they tried to sell the 17th century painting in Berlin.

In the joint operation with Ukrainian authorities, another 20 people were arrested in Ukraine. The painting was stolen from a museum in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa in July 2008.

But now art experts have stepped forward to dispute the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art's claim that the painting is the original, worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Roberto Contini, curator for Italian and Spanish art for the 16th through 18th centuries at Berlin's Gemäldegalerie art museum, told daily Der Tagesspiegel he believes it is a “very good contemporary copy” - which is not the same as a forgery.

According to popular expert opinion, the actual original is housed at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, the paper said.

“Forgery would naturally be the wrong term,” a spokeswoman from the Dublin museum told news agency DPA. “Back then copying the work of other masters belonged to the training and refinement of an artist.”

The authenticity of both paintings has been the subject of controversy over the years.

The Dublin version was discovered in 1990 in a Dublin Jesuit monastery, where it had reportedly been since 1930. Up until then, the Odessa version was thought to be the original, Der Tagesspiegel said.

But the Odessa version, also known as “The Judas Kiss,” probably wasn't painted until about 20 to 25 years after the original in 1602, said Contini, who is preparing for an upcoming Caravaggio exhibition in Berlin.

Despite being a copy, it is “still a historically important piece,” he said, but not worth quite as much as Odessa has claimed.

Unfortunately the work confiscated by Berlin police was heavily damaged, showing wrinkles and lost chips of paint because the thieves folded it, instead of rolling.

According to news agency DPA, German prosecutors were aware they were dealing with a copy, but a spokesperson said on Wednesday this made no difference in their arrests.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

17:04 June 30, 2010 by William Thirteen
'the thieves folded it, instead of rolling'

amateurs...
20:06 June 30, 2010 by lordkorner
All Art Galleries in Dublin are free,to just wander in any time you are in town is such a pleasure,something I miss.
00:00 July 1, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Since a Dublin Jesuit monastery apparently owns the original painting, which is (according to this article) valued at "hundreds of millions of euros" (a bit hyperbolic, I would think), perhaps the Catholic Church in Ireland has the financial resources to start compensating the tens of thousands of victims of its pedophile priests. Sell some art and pay the piper.
Today's headlines
Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

How new German rules are holding refugee families apart
Children wait for food in Jarablus, Syria. Photo: DPA

Germany, trying to staunch the flow of Syrian refugees, has placed high hurdles for them to be reunited with their families, creating a Kafkaesque nightmare in the courts.

10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Photo: DPA

Fire up your ovens and get ready to bake - here are ten festive German cookies and pastries that'll send your senses into paroxysms of yuletide joy.

5 things we learnt reading Germany's first Charlie Hebdo
Photo: DPA.

The very first German edition of Charlie Hebdo hit the shelves across the country on Thursday. So what can Germans expect if they buy it?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,627
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd