By Anne Leader

Theft at Verona Museum

On the evening of Thursday 19 November 2015, thieves stole seventeen paintings from the Museo Civico di Castelvecchio in Verona. Among the stolen objects were works by Pisanello, Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo Tintoretto, Jacopo Bellini, Giovanni Francesco Caroto, and Giovanni Benini, estimated between 10 and 15 million euro in value. As always happens in these cases, we can only ask why, as the works are both priceless (they cannot be replaced) and worthless (they cannot be sold on the open market). We can only hope that their absence is temporary and that they are returned safely to the museum as quickly as possible.

The Art Newspaper reports that the ministry of culture and the Carabinieri (Italian police force) are searching for the robbers. Verona mayor Flavio Tosi believes the heist to have been “specially commissioned by someone because the thieves were well timed, well organized, and knew what they wanted.”  The robbery raises important questions about the security of Italian museums in general, but particularly those in smaller and more provincial locations. This tragedy is an especially unwelcome send off for museum director Paola Marini, who will retire her position to become the new director of the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice on 5 December 2015. She told ANSA news service that a painting of the Conversion of Saul by Giulio Ticino that hung near the paintings by Tintoretto was damaged during the heist. Though not seriously damaged, as Marini says, “it demonstrates, however, the brutality” of the theft.

The missing works, taken by three armed men who overwhelmed a museum guard, include (*pictured above):

  1. Madonna of the Quail by Pisanello*
  2. Penitent St. Jerome in the Desert by Jacopo Bellini*
  3. Holy Family with Saints by Andrea Mantegna*
  4. Portrait of a youth Holding a Child’s Drawing by Giovanni Francesco Caroto*
  5. Portrait of a young Benedictine by Giovanni Francesco Caroto*
  6. Nursing Madonna by Jacopo Tintoretto*
  7. Transporting the Ark of the Covenant by Jacopo Tintoretto
  8. Banquet of Baltassar by Jacopo Tintoretto
  9. Samson by Jacopo Tintoretto 
  10. Judgment of Solomon by Jacopo Tintoretto*
  11. Portrait of a Man by follower of Jacopo Tintoretto
  12. Portrait of a Venetian by Workshop of Domenico Tintoretto*
  13. Portrait of Marco Pasqualigo by Domenico Tintoretto
  14. Portrait of a Woman by Peter Paul Rubens*
  15. Sea port by Hans de Jode
  16. Landscape by Hans de Jode
  17. Portrait of Girolamo Pompei by Giovanni Benini

Frame from video of gallery from which paintings were stolen. Photo: ANSA

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