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Culture 16/07/2017 15h40

Morocco hands over to Italy the stolen masterpiece painted by Guercino

Il Guercino stolen painting./Ph. DR

Morocco handed over to Italy the 17th century masterpiece painted by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as Il Guerchin (1591-1666), stolen in 2014 from the San Vincenzo church in Modena, Italy, and found in Casablanca by the kingdom's authorities. This canvas (293 x 184.5 cm) estimated at 6 million euros was given back on Saturday to the police headquarters in Casablanca, in the presence of the ambassador of Italy in Morocco, Roberto Natali and an Italian delegation, in addition to Moroccan senior officials.

Speaking to Media, Hamid Bahri, Police Comptroller General and head of the Casa-Anfa district, stressed that Morocco, faithful to its international obligations, especially in security matters.

This operation of restoring the masterpiece «The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and Gregory the Thaumaturge» is part of the efforts of the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN) to interact with international alerts on Burglaries of valuables. He said that the alleged perpetrator was arrested in Italy and will be extradited to Morocco, adding that three other suspects were arrested by the Hay Hassani police.

«Today we have started a new chapter in security cooperation between Rabat and Rome,» said the Italian ambassador in Rabat, noting that the stolen canvas is one of the masterpieces of «Il Guerchin» that has a great cultural value.

Thanks to the effectiveness Moroccan authorities intervention, this valuable masterpiece was discovered in Casablanca, he said, reiterating his thanks to the Moroccan authorities, especially the prefecture of Casablanca.

«The Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist and Gregory the Thaumaturge» was painted by Il Guerchin in 1639. Influenced by Caravaggio (1571-1610) and his work, Il Guerchin has developed a naturalistic style that granted him fame in Italy and the rest of the world.

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