Not to belabor the art thievery theme, but I’m tossing my hat to New Britain Museum of American Art’s blog, again.  On its twitter feed was this:  Art is constantly being stolen and recovered globally Interesting to see what types of art are heavily coveted  (with a link to) Interpol’s Stolen Works of Art 

It was interesting. I was reminded of an earlier post basically about the famous argument between Caravaggio and the lesser- known Giovanni Baglione in Farsa di chiaroscuro 

INTERPOL praises German and Ukrainian police collaboration in recovery of stolen Caravaggio painting

LYON, France  (02 July 2010)  –  The head of INTERPOL has praised police authorities in Germany and Ukraine for their ‘exemplary international collaboration’ in a recent operation in which a stolen Caravaggio painting was recovered and an alleged international art theft gang broken up with more than 20 suspects arrested.

The Caravaggio painting, known as the ‘Taking of Christ’ or the ‘Kiss of Judas’ and reportedly worth tens of millions of Euros, is considered a national treasure in Ukraine. It was snatched from the country’s Museum of Western European and Oriental Art in Odessa in July 2008.

The Taking of Christ, Caravaggio, c.1602, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Now the above painting, as the caption implies, is supposedly in Ireland at its National Gallery. Or so says the Wikipedia entry where I found this very image. Why would it be Ukraine’s national treasure? … Nevermind … I just found The Art Tribune’s explanation. The Odessa museum’s painting is a copy of the original, and a very good one.

Anyway, The Taking of Christ has an interesting story beyond Interpol’s dramatic international recapture of Ukraine’s national treasure. The original was thought to have vanished into thin air.  Then it reappeared in 1990 in the dining room of the Society of Jesus in Dublin.

For roughly 200 years it had been mistaken as a copy thought to have been painted by one Gerard van Honthorst, a Caravaggio Dutch devotee.  The unrecognized original had two owners from 1800 until 1930 – it was then donated to the Jesuits. The Taking of Christ hung in the Jesuit residence’s dining room for 60 years. A conservator for the National Gallery of Ireland identified it after he went to the Jesuit Fathers to examine a few paintings for restoration.  

The painting is on indefinite loan to the National Gallery of Ireland from the Jesuit Community,  Leeson Street, Dublin who acknowledge the kind generosity of Dr. Marie Lea-Wilson.

And Caravaggio is holding the lantern.

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