Skip to content

The United States returns stolen 18th century paintings to Peru

He Ministry of Culture of Peru achieved an important milestone in the preservation of national cultural heritage: the recovery of two Peruvian viceregal paintings from the 18th century that were stolen in 2012. Prior to the recovery, these works were destined to be auctioned by a private company in New York; However, the recovery efforts carried out by US and Peruvian authorities managed to prevent this transaction.

The paintings, identified as “Virgen de las Mercedes” and “Flight to Egypt”, were stolen from the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Temple, located in the district of Juli, province of Chucuito, in the region of Puno 12 years ago, starting a search process for lost heritage. “When they informed us that they found the works that we had been looking for since they disappeared, we began the necessary procedures for their return. Last year alone there were more than 10 recovered works that were in Cuzco and Puno”mentions Evelyn Centurión, director of Recovery at the Ministry of Culture.

The discovery of these works occurred in October of last year, when the staff of the Directorate of Management, Registration and Cataloging of Movable Cultural Assets of the Ministry of Culture became aware that certain canvases of alleged Peruvian origin were being offered in a virtual auction. by the New York-based company Doyle. After an exhaustive investigation, it was confirmed that two of the six works of art auctioned corresponded to the stolen paintings, which had registration cards with the Ministry of Culture since 2009.

Given this discovery, immediate measures were taken, including the filing of a police report at the Chucuito PNP Police Station and the issuance of a Virtual Alert for Stolen Cultural Assets by the Recovery Directorate of the Ministry of Culture. In addition, a Theft Alert was disseminated through Interpol, involving various entities in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

The painting stolen from the Temple of Our Lady of the Assumption in 2012, “Flight into Egypt.”

“We have identified more than 100 works that are vulnerable, many times these works are not in the inventory, now we identify and classify them. “This precautionary measure will allow us to identify and recover them.”says Centurión, who emphasizes that so far more than 2,000 pieces of Peruvian cultural heritage have been returned by the United States.

A week ago, the Foreign Ministry received notification from the Antiquities Trafficking unit of the Manhattan Prosecutor’s Office, which guarantees the next delivery of the two paintings to the Consulate General of Peru in New York. This Agreement for the Protection of Cultural Heritage between the United States and Peru – which has been in force for more than 26 years – will continue to facilitate the return of pieces of Peruvian cultural heritage. “It is a matter of budget and requests, the repatriation of these will arrive in Peru in April or May at the latest, it remains to be seen if they will return to the place from where they were stolen.”he concludes.

Source: Elcomercio

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular