Bologna: Rome prosecutors are investigating the disappearance of at least 120 paintings, prints, sculptures and tapestries from the offices of Italy’s public broadcaster Rai.
Some of the missing artwork, including valuable engravings by Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley, disappeared from Rai’s offices, while others were replaced by forgeries.
Authorities suspect disgruntled employees may be behind the thefts of the impressive collection, which includes 1,500 works of art worth millions of euros that were purchased over the years with public funds. Italian households must pay 90 euros ($ 141) a year in television license fees, although Rai, which is owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, still has a debt of 523 million euros.
According to the Il Messaggero The newspaper, which first reported the story of the “Sack of Rai,” the top bosses at the station’s Rome headquarters discovered the problem by chance in March, when a painting allegedly by Florentine artist Ottone Rosai fell to the ground. , its broken frame revealed that it was actually a Copy.
Detectives traced the theft to a retired Rai employee, who admitted that he had sold it in the 1970s for the equivalent of a few hundred euros. The crime is no longer prosecutable as the statute of limitations has passed.
A subsequent study of known works in Rai’s collection revealed that 120 pieces were missing.
Four bronze and silver horse statues that were miniature copies of Francesco Messina’s iconic sculpture were also stolen outside Rai’s headquarters in Rome, along with a canvas depicting the Colosseum by figurative painter Giovanni Stradone.
In addition to the Rome headquarters, the artworks have also disappeared from Rai’s offices elsewhere. The paintings by Giorgio De Chirico and Renato Guttuso are among the missing.