A recovered $7m Titian?

May 26 2022

There was a story doing the rounds a few days about Italian police seizing a 'lost' Titian worth $7m. The picture was unveiled to the press in Italy, and with much fanfare 'returned to the Italian state'. It seems the picture was not stolen, but illegaly exported to Switzerland in 2004 without a correct export licence (any picture worth more than €13,500 and over 70 years old requires an export licence in Italy).

And yet, the picture doesn't really look like a Titian, even from the available photos. So I don't see how it could ever be worth $7m, and to be honest I'm not sure it would even be worth more than the threshold required for an Italian export licence. And even more curiously, the picture was 'recovered' in Italy. So it may never have been permanently exported in the first place.

What's going on? Who knows, but in the Italian press, the politician and superstar art historian Vittorio Sgarbi has waded in, saying the whole thing is a bit of a 'scam'. He also says the picture is certainly not by Titian. And best of all, he's  recorded a You Tube video on it here, which was filmed in a motorhome being driven on the motorway. I'm envious - AHN needs its own chauffeur-driven motorhome.

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