Is the stealing of Artworks in Verona an act of Terrorism?

Pisanello's 'Madonna of the Quail'
Pisanello’s ‘Madonna of the Quail’

A colossal theft was carried out in the evening of 19 November 2015 in Verona, at the Castelvecchio Museum. A well organised band of criminals had just a cashier and one single, not-armed guard, to subdue before leaving with 17 masterpieces and half-destroying another picture. Here are the missing pictures:

Jacopo Tintoretto 
Lactating Madonna
Moving the Arc
Banquet of Baltassar
Judgement of Solomon

Peter Paul Rubens
Dame with licnidi

Holy Family

Domenico Tintoretto
Man’s portrait
Portrait of an Admiral

The Madonna of the Quail

San Jerome

G.F. Caroto
A boy with a sketch
Young Benedectine

Hans de Jode
Port at sea

Giovanni Benini
Portrait of Girolamo Pompei 


Italian newspapers are reporting that the total value of the stolen works is around 15 million euros. If this estimate comes from the director of the Museum, the 63 years old Paola Marini, who at the time of the robbery was at the Restaurant “12 Apostles” to receive a prize, she should consider resigning. She will be leaving anyway, called by Minister Franceschini to work at the Culture’s Ministry in Rome. Only last week a Modigliani was sold for 170,4 million USD, therefore how can Dr. Marini and the Italians who read newspapers believe what she says, thus deluding themselves into thinking that all the stolen works are only worth 10% of a Modigliani?
In fact the total loss for Verona and Italy may well be in a range varying between 3 to 5 billion USD in the open market, although these paintings are so famous that it is absolutely impossible to sell them, but this fact can only increase our anguish because they may be lost forever. Let us just mention one of the pictures: the Pisanello’s Madonna, an incredible masterpiece painted by Sienese who lived in Verona, Antonio Pisanello (1355 – 1455), one of the most mysterious artists ever existed,  who may have travelled to Costantinople. We may say that this lost picture of Holy Mary is at the same level, or even above, of the Mona Lisa of Leonardo kept at the Louvre Museum in Paris.


So, why have they been stolen if they are not sellable? To ask for a ransom or, as the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi has rightly suggested, could this be a new chapter of the Jihad carried out by the terrorists of Isis? Italians benpensanti see Sgarbi’s utterance as one of his usual exaggerations but they have no idea how poorer Verona, and us all, are after such tragedy


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