An art squad run by Italian police retrieved a $7 million artwork from the Renaissance period almost 20 years after it was illegally transported to Switzerland.
Two Swiss citizens are currently under investigation for transporting Portrait of a Man with a Beret by Tiziano Vecellio, also known as Titian, according to law enforcement. It was discovered in Italy's Asti area of the Piedmont region mid-restoration after it had been missing since 2004.
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Titian studied art in Venice under Sebastiano Zuccato and Gentile Bellini. He reached fame during his lifetime and was commissioned for an altarpiece in a church and a cabinet in a duke's personal castle.
I #Carabinieri del #TPC hanno sequestrato e restituito allo Stato il dipinto “Ritratto di gentiluomo con berretto nero” attribuito al grande pittore rinascimentale Tiziano Vecellio. L’opera, che si riteneva perduta, era stata esportata illegalmente in Svizzera vent’anni fa pic.twitter.com/HREH9vfCrC— Arma dei Carabinieri (@_Carabinieri_) May 19, 2022
Italy established its art squad in 1969 to combat the illegal trafficking of artwork. There are now 280 officers on the force.
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Later, in 1980, the group would establish a database called Leonardo to keep track of all its missing artwork. As of 2020, there were 1.1 million pieces uploaded to the database. There is presently an app in English and Italian that allows users to upload pictures of artwork to see if a piece is in the database or not.