A priceless crucifix by medieval master Paolo Veneziano is back in Italy after being looted 67 years ago in the aftermath of World War II.
German authorities discovered the panel in the form of a crucifix in 2012 at a private residence belonging to a former member of the German military. It was stolen from the Church of San Pantaleone Martire in Venice and will eventually go on display there.
The return of the crucifix demonstrates that the Italian authorities can use existing legislation to recover cultural artifacts that have been stolen and taken abroad since 1909. Its return is an important precedent in aiding the recovery of Italian artistic heritage that is scattered overseas.
The crucifix depicts Christ with the Virgin and Saint John on its sides with an angel above. The artwork measures 110 by 98 inches, and was painted by the Venetian artist between 1335 and 1345.
Veneziano was of the most sought-after panel painters in Italy during the 14th century and was one of the first official state painters. He drew on Gothic and Byzantine influences to create an original style and is considered a founder of the Venice painting school, influencing the younger Venetian painters of his day.