Are you dead? (Italian Art Theft Book 11)

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When asked about the London dealer's motives for helping, Mr Brand stated first and foremost, that Mr.


Veres is never paid for the assistance he gives on these cases. Secondly he stated that though he [Veres] has had encounters with the law in the past, Brand believes that these assists might help the dealer in cleaning up his reputation. Lastly, Brand stated that you cannot recover stolen art with the help of the Salvation Army, and underscored "all my investigations, including this one, are conducted with the local police authorities full knowledge and are completely legal in the eyes of the law.

For now Oscar Wilde's ring is is set to go on display, Wednesday December 4th during a ceremony at the University of Oxford. Proving that museum theft is a bad idea, the Carabinieri and the local municipal police force have identified two culprits, aged 20 and 23 responsible for breaking in the Museo Civico Archeologico in Castiglion Fiorentino with a crow bar during the early morning hours of November 9th. Analyzing CCTV surveillance footage, which captured the culprits lighting their way to the stash using their cell phones, as well as images in the city's historic center, investigators were able to hone in on two individuals responsible for the burglary in just four days.

After that, they questioned the suspects about their whereabouts at the time of the theft.

The man who stole the Mona Lisa

After contradicting one another, and eventually breaking under the stress, the 23 year old, listed only by his initials as "SM" quickly confessed, soon after followed by his accomplice. As is sometimes the predictable case in thefts of this nature, one of the two accomplices had once worked at the museum.

The Thrilling Gardner Museum Heist

A second irrefutable bit of evidence, the GPS location data from the cell phones they carried at the time of the theft. With this law enforcement can conclusively pinpoint their locations at the time the alarm system sounded. November 15, In their complaint Safani Gallery Inc. On page 15 of that complaint, Safani through their council asks for a ruling by jury for either the return of the marble sculpture or the full fair-market value of the Head of Alexander, plus legal expenses and interest.

In its complaint Safani Gallery also represents that it was given express representations and warranties of the authenticity, ownership, export licensing, and other attributes of the provenance for the marble head from Foundation, Classical Galleries. The complaint also states that by seizing the sculpture, Italy seeks to receive a benefit, including the expropriation of the gallery's property for Italy's own use and gain, to which the country has no claim, interest, or right.

Vance Jr. As a result of that seizure, the object was taken into evidence as part of a state investigation seeking to demonstrate the crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree. Dolan In terms of its history, the NY District Attorney court documents set out that the head was discovered during excavations of the Basilica Aemilia, located on the Via Sacra.

While little remains of the Basilica Aemilia today, its presence in the form is documented by Rome historian Pliny the Elder as being one of the three most beautiful elements on the site alongside the Forum of Augustus and the Temple of Peace. The contested marble head was discovered at some point during Italian research excavations carried out by Professor Giacomo Boni and later by Professor Alfonso Bartoli, who conducted archaeological surveys of the Palatine Hill in Rome between and As such, these objects represent a valuable testimony to the art and architecture decorating buildings in the Forum during the Augustan Age.

After 20 BCE Roman art often portrayed the people of the Empire and during its restoration in 14 BCE, Augustus chose to line the Basilica with a series of Parthian figurines, perhaps to humiliate the ancient foreign enemy of Rome.

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Correlating statue from the Basilica Aemilia. This method of documentation most likely came about as a result of the country having instituted regional "Superintendencies" in on the basis of law no dated 27 June Prior to that, Italy lacked a strong national framework to encompass cultural heritage laws and regulations, and the area's cultural heritage was protected by the individual laws and decrees inherited from the many states and kingdoms that formerly made up Italy prior to it unification. To archive the excavation finds from the Roman Forum, the city's cultural authorities placed the smaller antiquities discovered during this excavation upon a table in the Museo Forense cloister for cataloging.

The objects were then photographed against a dark background to aid in their identification and documentation. The location where this image was taken is confirmed via a second image photographed in the same cloister of additional excavation finds from the Basilica Aemilia excavation which depicts objects photographed on the same table, but taken from a wider angle which allows the viewer to see the architectural elements from the cloister. Based on these photographic records, the contested head of Alexander the Great is believed to have been discovered during the second phase of excavations which began after , one year after the superintendency began using this type of photographic imagery for this excavation.

An ambrotype is an early form of photography dating to the s which, in many ways, is a more cumbersome antique equivalent to the modern day slide, with the exception being the photograph was created by way of a fragile glass negative. To preserve them, ambrotypes are generally stored in cases called a casket or union case and in single envelopes which require special care given their fragility. Sample ambrotype photo in its union case. All records of this marble head date from and points thereafter.

It is important to note that Professors Bartoli and Boni began their explorations in the zone of the Basilica Aemilia, where the head has been reported to have been excavated, in September History tells us though that records for the marble head notated "perduta" Italian for the word "lost" in November of , when a review of the photographic negative of the Head of Alexander, inventory number , no longer could be matched with a correlating object within the state's collection inventories.

Yet, at the time of this notation, there was no evidence to indicate that the object, or a second, also notated missing antiquity, had been stolen. It is for this reason perhaps that the object was not archived within Italy's Leonardo database, the Italian state's archive for stolen art and antiquities. But where was the object bought and sold before ultimately being located by the Italians? The buyer at this time was listed only as "Altertum Ltd. The object was then bequeathed to Dr. Miller by Oikonomides when he passed away in Oikonomides, Chicago At the time of this transaction, there was very little in the way of documentation to confirm the provenance narrative.

In May , the head of Alexander surfaced once again, but on the other side of the Atlantic. Before his death in Sheikh Saud Al-Thani was believed to have been the world's richest art collector. Albertson By an amazing bit of serendipity, on 19 February , Dr.

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Patrizia Fortini, Director and Coordinator of the Archaeological Site of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill chanced upon an art fair advertisement which featured a photo of the stolen head in a publication for the upcoming fine arts fair known as TEFAF. In the dealer's documentation, a photograph of the head had been included highlighting Safani Gallery's offerings for the upcoming Maastricht sale due to be held in the Netherlands, March That same day, 19 February , Fortini contacted the Carabinieri Headquarters for the Protection of Cultural Heritage a informed them of her suspicions.

Fortini's concerns. Statute of Limitations and Clear Title Under New York law, barring the expiration of the statute of limitations or application of the laches doctrine, one cannot obtain title from a thief unless the present-day possessor's title can be traced to someone with whom the original owner voluntarily entrusted the art.

As clear title is not possible in the case of this marble head, this leaves Safani and his counsel, David Schoen, to see if they can make their case based on the laches defense. While delay in pursuing a claim for the head could be considered in the context of laches under New York law, given that the theft occurred at an unknown time so many years ago, it has long been the law of the state of New York that a property owner, having discovered the location of its lost property, cannot unreasonably delay in making their demand upon the person in possession of that property.

As Italy acted within days of its identification that its "lost" item was in fact stolen, this course of legal action doesn't seem to be a viable route for retaining the object in question. Likewise, as of this date, Safani Gallery hasn't produced any records or bill of sale for any pre transaction for the Head of Alexander.

Nor are there any records which would confirm a date for which the object was shipped out of the source country, such as a bill of lading or a customs declaration. This leaves Safani with little tangible evidence to disprove the NYDA's stance that the object was stolen and then illegally removed from Italy. So for now, the court wrangling continues to drag on. To view the 23 July Application for Turnover, please see here. November 9, Retrieved 1 May Retrieved 12 December The Complete Paintings of Leonardo da Vinci.

How to Find That Book You've Spent Years Looking For

Leonardo Da Vinci. Hong Kong: Lascar Publishing. Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August Retrieved 5 June The Life and Times of Leonardo. London: Paul Hamlyn.

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The Oxford Companion the Western Art. The Great Artists: Da Vinci. Translated by Tanguy, J. Retrieved 8 November The Rise of the Artist. Center for Inquiry. Leonardo da Vinci Newition ed. United Kingdom: Penguin.

Leonardo da Vinci. The Birth of Modern Science. Retrieved 5 January The Times. University of Heidelberg. Archived from the original on 5 November Retrieved 4 July The World of Michelangelo: — Time-Life Books. Michelangelo: paintings, sculptures, architecture. Phaidon Press. VIII : — Books on Demand. Leonardo da Vinci: Pathfinder of Science. Prabhat Prakashan.

Published New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 4 October Archived from the original on 25 August Retrieved 2 May Retrieved 4 May Retrieved 5 May Live Science. The Telegraph.