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Art Theft at S. Simeone
(near Stroncone, in Umbria)

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The plaster on the walls of this chapel seems to have fallen off.

Let's zoom in, though, on the attractive fresco on the left, representing S. Bernardino di Siena.

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A bit more zoom, to see the precise scalpeling away of the saint's face and hands. This is no accident:

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We can safely say that the center panel — my guess: either a Crucifixion or St. Francis receiving the stigmata — was stolen whole; but that the thieves didn't feel it was worth the trouble to take all of S. Bernardino, above: just his face and his hands.

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This damage to a small altar in the nave of the church is no accident either: the oval stone boss in the center of the altar front was saleable. The rest is just plaster.

An earthquake may have started the destruction, but just in case you missed it:

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Chisel left behind by the thief; he's going to come back.

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Page updated: 2 May 98