A detail of a fourteenth-century manuscript page and the Consalvo Carelli painting that was repatriated to Italy on Friday, December 9. Photo: Josh Denmark

US Returns Stolen Artworks to Italy

The United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies have repatriated two looted artworks to Italy during a ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday, December 9.

An illuminated manuscript page depicting Saint Lucy, Pagina Miniata, was taken from “Codex D,” created between 1335 and 1345. In 1952, it was purchased by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The second work, a Consalvo Carelli painting, was stolen from a private residence in Naples in 2001. It later surfaced at a Pennsylvania auction house in 2014 and was sold to an art dealer in California. The Italian Carabinieri contacted Homeland Security Investigations, who along with their counterparts at US Customs and Border Protection, were able to assist in returning the works to their rightful owners.

“Today’s ceremony marks another important stepping stone in the long-standing cooperation between the governments of the United States and Italy in the field of cultural promotion and protection of cultural heritage,” Italian ambassador to the United States Armando Varricchio said. “It also underscores Italy’s unwavering commitment to repatriate national treasures unlawfully scattered throughout the world.”

Since 2007, the ICE has returned more than seventy-eight hundred artifacts, including paintings, fifteenth- to eighteenth-century manuscripts, and other cultural artifacts and antiquities to more than thirty countries, including France, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Peru, China, Cambodia, Iraq, and Egypt. Two Baatar dinosaur fossils that were taken from Mongolia were also repatriated.