Missing sculpture found in locker of Rome museum

Police working on theory that thief returned with art work

A bronze sculpture by Italian artist Medardo Rosso was recovered in a museum locker at Rome's Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (GNAM) on 8 December, three days after it was stolen, according to a report in Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

Considered one of Rosso's masterpieces, the Bambino Malato or Sick Child sculpture dates from 1893-1895, and is valued at €500,000. The bronze bust was noticed missing at around 16.30 on 5 December, during opening hours, from a pedestal in room 48 of the museum.

Police are working on the theory that the thief returned to GNAM and deposited the sculpture in the locker area which had already been searched following the theft. The artwork belongs to the museum's permanent collection and was on show as part of the current exhibition Secessione e Avanguardia.

The Italian culture ministry said that the museum's closed circuit television and alarm systems were fully operational at the time of the theft.

In 1998 three armed robbers stole two works by Vincent Van Gogh and another by Paul Cèzanne. The paintings were later recovered.

Born in Turin in 1858, Rosso was a Post-Impressionist artist and is considered by many to be Italy's answer to Auguste Rodin. He is best known for his half-formed bronze, plaster and wax sculptures, and he died in Milan in 1928.

Photo. La Repubblica