Video screenshot via NPO
Balancing out the disappointment some might feel about the purported Picasso painting that turned out to be an elaborate hoax, a man affectionately labeled as “the Indiana Jones of the art world” has uncovered a precious sixth-century mosaic that was stolen in the 1970s.
Dutch art detective Arthur Brand had spent almost two years searching for the 1,600-year-old artwork across Europe, eventually nailing down its location in the home of a British family, who seemed taken back at the value of the piece.
According to the BBC, the Dutchman recalled feeling “very special” upon his discovery.
The tile—a Byzantine interpretation of Saint Mark—had been stolen in the 1970s from the Panayia Kanakaria church, which is 65 miles north-east of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.
The British family who kept the artwork had “bought the mosaic in good faith more than four decades ago,” Brand told AFP, adding that the owners were “horrified” after learning it was a “priceless art treasure looted from the Kanakaria church after the Turkish invasion.”
The investigator then handed the mosaic to the Cypriot embassy in The Hague on Friday.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” he recounted.
Brand gained fame in 2015 after he uncovered Nazi statues Hitler’s Horses by duping a group of Nazi activists into showing him the sculptures.
He also recovered Salvador Dalí’s 1941 Adolescence work and Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka’s painting, La Musicienne, in 2016.
Soon this long lost (stolen in 1975) mosaic from Cyprus will be returned by me to the Cypriots. It depicts St. Mark and dates from the 5th century. I’m thrilled… pic.twitter.com/G6bOwgJYpp
— Arthur Brand (@brand_arthur) November 1, 2018
— Breaking Tech (@BrkTech_) November 19, 2018
[via BBC, images via various sources]
Missing 1,600-year-old mosaic returned after four decades: Dutch historian and art crime investigator Arthur Brand spent the past three years tracking down the stolen Byzantine-era mosaic. https://t.co/bSQBcxGghQ pic.twitter.com/SY8ibwQSXF
— Maryland Recruiter (@Maryland_IT) November 19, 2018