A Stolen Rubens Painting, Missing for a Decade, Resurfaces in Greece

A Stolen Rubens Painting, Missing for a Decade, Resurfaces in Greece
Peter Paul Rubens's "Wild Boar Hunt," 1618, might be the painting that was stolen.
(Courtesy of Wikipaintings)

The long odyssey of a painting by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens that was stolen from a Belgian museum ten years ago is finally coming to an end.   Two people have been arrested in Greece and charged with possession of stolen property after the canvas was found with them, though they are not believed to be the original art thieves.

Neither the work's title nor the museum from which it was stolen have been officially revealed. The Greek culture ministry told the AP that the work dates to 1618, was stolen in 2001, and is "a particularly important painting" that has been authenticated by experts. According to Europe 1, an anonymous police source indicated that the painting depicts a boar hunt. A Rubens oil sketch matching that description was stolen from Ghent's Fine Arts Museum in 2001, the Independent reported at the time, when three masked robbers grabbed "The Hunt for the Caledonian Wild Boar" and "The Flagellation of Christ," both by Rubens, from the museum wall, accidentally dropping the latter in their hurried getaway.

According to the Greek press agency ANA, the police laid a trap for the crooks by posing as potential buyers of the stolen painting. The couple offered to part with the 11-by-20-inch canvas for €6 million ($8.6 million). The work's value is estimated at €200,000 ($285,000).

In a separate case, the Greek culture ministry also announced that six people were arrested for possession of stolen prehistoric bronze pieces. The ministry will unveil the recovered painting and antiquities together in coming days.