Guercino Left Ghastly After Theft 

The recovery of a stolen Guercino altarpiece this past February was a major moment, yet news sources are now reporting that the extent of damage to the canvas thanks to this theft might be irreparable. 

Guercino’s Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory the Wonderworker (1639) was purloined from Modena’s Church of San Vincenzo on 10 August 2014. The thieves reportedly cut the canvas from its mount and rolled it up, leaving it in this state for the past several years. When the painting was tracked to Casablanca and discovered there several weeks ago, the joy of its discovery was tempered by the damage to the composition, which resulted in the loss of potentially one-third of the painted surface. 

North African authorities are still negotiating the canvas’ return to Italy, after which point restoration work can begin. 

Further Reading: 

Emily Sharpe, “Photos of Guercino painting, rolled up like a rug by thieves, reveal extent of damage” (The Art Newspaper, 22 March 2017). 

Stefano Luppi, “ Guercino rubato a Modena e sfregiato, difficile che torni come prima” (Gazzetta di Modena, 23 March 2017). 

Hannah McGivern, “Stolen Guercino painting found in Casablanca” ( The Art Newspaper, 17 February 2017) 

Image of the canvas before the theft (left) and after its recovery (right), courtesy of The Art Newspaper. 

Posted by Alexis Culotta 

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