This week, a large 17th-century Baroque painting by Italian artist Guercino went missing in the northern Italian city of Modena. Depicting “Madonna with Saint John Evangelist and St. Gregory the Wonderworker” (1639), the painting hung in a chapel of the church of San Vincenzo in central Modena.
Il Messagero is reporting that the theft comes on the heels of other smaller crimes at regional churches, where minor chalices, candlesticks, vestments, and paintings of little artistic value have been looted and stolen. The missing Guercino is one of the most serious art thefts to happen in the country in the last decade.
The painting was protected by little security. Critic Vittorio Sgarbi told the La Stampa newspaper, “In that church there was no alarm system. How is it possible that the supervision has allowed a work so precious to remain there without security?”
But curators of the church’s art collection told the Telegraph that there was an alarm system — only it wasn’t working due to lack of funds.
The painting recently returned from being on exhibit at the Palace of Venaria near Turin.