The case of the theft of 221 Hermitage exhibits is about to be finished

Icon of Seraphim Sarovsky

The case is almost clear. The terms as well as the circle of the suspected are known. Nine exhibits have been already returned to the museum.

A large plunder in the State Hermitage was found in the end of July. In the course of the control, the stuff hasn’t found 221 exhibit items. The total price of plundered pieces fetches about 130,000,000 roubles, though they can be estimated much higher at foreign auctions.

The widower and the son of a Hermitage curator who suddenly died during the control have been arrested. According to the experts, the thefts were realised last 6 years with a part of the Hermitage curator.

Since the criminal case has been begun, some exhibits were returned to the museum. First of them – a wooden icon «Cathedral of All Saints» of 1893- was found in an ash can, on August 3 in the Ryleev Street in St. Petersburg near the house number 21. A man, who informed the police, preferred to be unknown.

On August 4 an antiquarian looking through the list of plundered pieces on the site of Russian Antique, found a piece that was put up for sale in his shop. That was a gilded silver chalice listed number 60.

The chalice got into the antiquarian shop «Orthodox Antique» back in April 2004 when a well-known and respected collector offered it for realisation. After the restoration the piece was put up. When an antiquarian got learnt that the piece had been plundered, he returned it to the Hermitage of his own free will.

Six more pieces from the Hermitage were found in St. Petersburg during the weekend. They were brought by the citizens to the antiquarian department of the General Internal Affairs Head-office. Among them there were two icons and a bowl.

Almost at the same time with the above-mentioned events in a Moscow antiquarian shop where they found a chalice, one more exhibit from the Hermitage list was identified – an item number 81, an icon of Seraphim Sarovsky decorated with enamels. On August 7 the antiquarian brought the icon to the office of the Russian Cultural Heritage and Mass Media Supervision Agency (Moscow).

It isn’t for the first time, when the information urgently placed on the site of the Russian Antique Information Agency and in Antiq.Info magazine helps to find and return lost works of art. For example, the picture «In the morning to the market» by Genrikh Semiradsky lost from the vault of the Taganrog Art Museum was found in Moscow and returned to the museum due to an article published in Antiq.Info magazine.

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Published in: on August 10, 2006 at 7:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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