Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Former mobster may hold clue to recovery of Caravaggio's "Nativity"

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
and Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo
A reproduction of Caravaggio’s “Nativity” in the Oratory of San Lorenzo, in Palermo, Italy, where the original was stolen in 1969. Credit: Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times
PALERMO, Sicily — Hopes of solving one of the worst art crimes in history have been reignited after Italian investigators announced they had received new information. Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence, a Caravaggio masterpiece stolen in 1969, could have been hidden in Switzerland after it fell into the hands of organised crime, the head of Italy’s anti-mafia commission said on Thursday. The new lead on the whereabouts of the 17th-century painting – a depiction of the newborn Christ on a bed of straw, painted in the chiaroscuro technique – came from a former mobster-turned-informant, who revealed to Italian investigators that it had once been held by Gaetano Badalamenti, a Sicilian “boss of bosses” who was known as one of the ringleaders of an infamous heroin trafficking network in the US called the Pizza Operation. [More]
Caravaggio’s “Nativity” in the Oratory of San Lorenzo, in Palermo, Italy