Leonardo painting returned to church who didn’t know it was missing

A church in Italy has been surprised to find a 500 year copy of a Leonardo Da Vinci painting they didn’t know was missing returned to them. In a year that has been deemed ‘strange and unprecedented’ by many, this latest twist in events made global news headlines as Italian police rescued the painting from an apartment in Naples. 

The rescued painting is a nearly half century old copy of the Salvator Mundi piece by the famous Leonardo Da Vinci. The painting gained notoriety last year when it became the highest selling painting on record, selling at auction for over $450 million USD. The original painting of Christ by Da Vinci dates back to the 1500s and was bought by a mysterious phone bidder at auction that later turned out to be the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 

Officers in Italy received news of the stolen painting being held at an apartment in Naples where it was found in a cupboard. The apartment belonged to a 36 year old who was arrested for possession of stolen property. Police staff were complimented by Naples prosecutor Giovanni Melillo in a statement he released that describes how “The painting was found on Saturday thanks to a brilliant and diligent police operation.”

The copy of the painting is said to be from a student of Da Vinci’s, Giacomo Alibrandi and also dates to the early 16th century. It is said the church it was stolen from had not noticed it was missing due to the church having been shut for months as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Members of the church are said to be relieved of its return and happy to see the painting safely back in its correct place. Police are said to be continuing to investigate how the theft was conducted and with their prosecution of the individuals involved.