Saturday, September 3, 2011
One of the versions of Rubens' "The Calydonian Boar Hunt", dated from 1618 and probably painted by one of his students, was recovered this last Thursday by the Greek police.
Two suspects, a 65 year old man, ex-antiquary, and a fourty something year old woman, were arrested by undercover agents who act as potential buyers and offered a generous amount for the 28cm x 52cm (11in x 20in) painting, valued at €200,000 ($285,000).
According to the Greek authorities, the suspects don't seem to be the original robbers.
"The Calydonian Boar Hunt" was stolen in June 2001 from a museum in Ghent, Belgium, when three masked robbers snatched two works by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens. The other painting was "The Flagellation of Christ", painted around 1617 and described as "priceless." Fortunately during their hasty getaway, one of the thieves dropped the painting, which was imediately recovered and didn't suffer any important damage.
The Culture Ministry of Greece and the authorities took the chance to refer that a second raid also conducted Thursday led to the arrest of another six Greeks and the recovery of stolen antiquities: three prehistoric bronze items, a metal seal and a manuscript in Arabic script.
The ministry said it would publicly present the painting and other items at a later date, possibly next week. No further details were immediately available, and Belgian police had no immediate comment.
“The news in the press was received with great enthusiasm by the museum staff and collaborators,” said Marie-Julie Dellaert, spokeswoman of the Fine Arts Museum of Ghent.
Painted by Peter Paul Rubens around 1611-1612, a few years after an extended stay in Italy, "The Calydonian Boar Hunt," an oil on panel measuring 23 1/4 x 35 1/2 in, was acquired by The Getty Museum in 2006.