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 of transporting “Portrait of a Man with a Beret” by Tiziano Vecellio, also known as Titian, according to police. It was discovered in Italy’s Asti area of Piedmont mid-restoration after it had been missing since 2004.
Italian-born Titian studied art in Venice under Sebastiano Zuccato and Gentile Bellini. He reached fame during his lifetime and was commissioned for an alter piece 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, Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale in 1969 to combat the illegal trafficking of artwork. Today there are 280 officers on the force.
Later, in 1980, it 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.