17th-century painting looted from earthquake-damaged Italian churches

A 17th-century painting looted from an earthquake-damaged village church in Nottoria has prompted Italian authorities to secure art before others are stolen or damaged.

The painting,  “Pardon in Assisi” was completed by French painter Jean Lhomme in 1631.

The thieves cut the painting from its frame.

The archbishop of Norcia and Spoleto, Monsignor Renato Boccardo said the risk of theft from abandoned towns and damaged churches is very high.

Severe weather since the 30 October earthquake has further endangered priceless treasures.

A fresco in Visso’s town hall called Madonna in Trono by Paolo da Visso, was severely damaged by the rain last weekend.

Boccardo said Norcia and nearby Cascia have many tiny hamlets where it will be easy for looters to help themselve.

“Whoever wants to go into a home or church can go easily,” he said.

While stressing that his primary concern was providing for his flock, he said the damage to the churches had added to their trauma.

Other artefacts being rescued from the elements included an urn containing the remains of Saint Benedict, the patron saint of Europe, and altar pieces and paintings.

“All the life of these little hamlets and towns is linked to the churches and the history and development of the towns all took place around them,” Boccardo said.


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News category: World.