Italian art group campaigns to recover long-lost Caravaggio painting (from Deutsche Welle)

Some 50,000 art thefts are reported each year and nearly all involve organized criminals. The majority of works are never found, but an Italian organization has sent out a plea for a painting stolen over 40 years ago.

Ludovico Gippetto gazes at a masterpiece by the Renaissance painter Caravaggio. He points to the figures in the 1609 painting that are bathed in the artist’s signature light and shadows.  “It’s the manger scene during the holy night,” he said. “The mother Mary has just given birth and placed the baby on the ground in the stall.”  The painting “Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence” isn’t in a gilded frame. It sits in Gippetto’s palm. It’s a postcard just like the ones museum visitors pick up at the gift store – with one glaring exception.  Emblazoned across the top of this postcard is the word “Wanted.”  The masterpiece has not been seen since October 16, 1969, when it disappeared from the altar of a chapel in the Sicilian capital Palermo. Gippetto is on a mission to get it back. The 44-year-old with shoulder-length hair looks like a Renaissance painter but his passion isn’t for creating art, rather for recovering stolen pieces so everyone can enjoy them.   READ MORE ON DEUTSCHE WELLE

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