Stolen painting by Guercino was uninsured and unprotected
Italian church's alarm was inactive and painting uninsured due to lack of funding
By Hannah McGivern. Web only
Published online: 15 August 2014
A 17th-century painting by the Italian Baroque artist Guercino that was stolen at the weekend from a church in Italy was neither insured nor protected by an alarm, clerics have told the Italian media.
Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory the Wonderworker, 1639, was taken from the Church of San Vincenzo in the centre of Modena on Sunday night. According to the parish priest Gianni Gherardi, who reported the theft, the church could not afford to insure the painting. Its alarm system—fitted during a renovation in the mid-1990s that was financed by the local bank Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena—had been inactive since the funds dried up, said Monsignor Giacomo Morandi, the vicar of the archdiocese.
There were no signs of forced entry, Gherardi said, suggesting that the thieves hid in the church after midday mass on Sunday. Police are analysing footage from nearby security cameras; it is suspected that the large work, which measures ten by six feet and was taken with its frame, was transported by van. Investigators have suggested that the theft was a collector’s commission. The painting, which is considered among Guercino’s masterpieces, is too famous to be resold on the open market, commented the head of the local cultural authority, Stefano Casciu.
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