FBI’s #1 Art Crime: Looting of Iraqi Artifacts

National_Museum_Iraq

During the war, and in March and April in particular, many Iraqi institutions and archaeological sites were looted. Above is a picture of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad back in 2008. After thousands of artifacts were looted, the FBI was brought in to investigate and recover the priceless artifacts.

The Iraqi museum houses the heritage of the Babylonian, Mesopotamian, and Persian civilizations. The museum was closed for several years while the collection was being recovered. It officially reopened in February, 2015. Although many pieces have been recovered, it is estimated that nearly 10,000 relics are still  missing. One item recovered by the FBI was the Statue of Entemena.

statue of entemena

If you have any information about these stolen relics please call the FBI tip line.

1-800-CALLFBI

For more information on the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes:

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft#FBI-Top

 

Photo credits:

Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) @ https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft/fbi-top-ten-art-crimes/iraqi-looted-and-stolen-artifacts

Photo of National Museum of Iraq: By Zzztriple2000 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Alexknight12 using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6793185

 

FBI’s Top 10 ART Crimes: #3 Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence

Michelangelo_Caravaggio_035

The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence is believed to be painted in 1609. While it’s date of origin is disputable, it’s creator is not. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was on the run for his life after murdering a man over a debt. This is believed to be one of is last paintings and is highly valuable.

In October 1969, two thieves entered the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Italy and removed the Caravaggio Nativity from its frame. Experts estimate its value at $20 million.

Two thieves entered the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo in October 1969 and cut the $20 million painting from it’s frame. Although there are plenty of rumors of Mafia involvement, the case remains unsolved and the priceless piece of Baroque art is still missing. A replica hangs in the Oratory where the original once stood.

If you have any tips relating to this 48-year-old cold case please call

1-800-CALLFBI

 

Photo credits:

Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) @ https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft/fbi-top-ten-art-crimes/nativity-with-san-lorenzo-and-san-francesco