The good news is that police in Berlin arrested four men involved in trying to sell a Caravaggio stolen from a Ukraine museum two years ago. The Telegraph‘s report suggests that there were up to 20 more persons connected to the painting and its attempted sale.
The bad news is that the media loves to inflate art prices in any context to make a story seem more important. Here we’re told the value of the Caravaggio:
Experts in Germany have authenticated the masterpiece The Taking of Christ, painted around 1602, as the work stolen from a museum in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa in July 2008. “The Ukrainian authorities have valued the painting in the tens of millions,” the German police statement said. Some experts cited have said the painting could fetch up to $100 million (£66 million) on the black market.
Who are these experts and are they valuing the painting at $1oom or the painting on the black market–which massively discounts the value because sales are nearly impossible (as the case proves)–which would give it a price tag closer to $1 billion. And that seems a bit much, doesn’t it?
Why can’t the impact of the story be preserved by pointing out that thieves failed to realize monetary value from a cultural treasure that was put at risk by their crime?
Stolen ‘$100m’ Caravaggio Recovered by Police (Telegraph)