When we visit a large museum that houses world-renowned works, it is common to find in its halls some artists who practice their skills copying the great masters. It is inevitable not to contemplate how this beautiful process develops and to pay attention to the details that the copyist decided to reproduce. This live experience makes us aware of how much it takes to undertake a painting, of the years of study needed and of the dedication that being a good artist requires.
Street Art has its roots in the American artistic revolution of the late 70s. Closely linked to graffiti, the origins of this discipline mix with a dark part of contemporary social history, which is connected to the creators’ need for reaffirming their identity, their uniqueness and their sense of belonging. It is not surprising that the first tags represented a battle cry against the pre-established system, class differences, inequalities between collectives… a way to express the discontent of the marginalised, the song of the oppressed materialised with spray in public places.
Today’s case gathers all the ingredients to become the plot of a thriller film. Back in 1954, a Gothic panel from the parish of Bulbuente in Zaragoza was restored. It depicted the Nativity of Christ in a classical composition of the Virgin with the child in her arms, surrounded by a choir of angels placed among the gaps of an arcade of columns. The “Virgin of the Angels” is an excellent work of 1390 made by Enrique de Estencop, one of the most prominent Gothic painters in the Crown of Aragon. The church was proud to show this piece. Not in vain, they had chosen this image as the primary cover of the 2018 calendar that would be distributed among the locals.
Last June 6th, 2018, a ceremony at the Embassy of Spain in the United States, in Washington, took place to return one of the incunabula copies of the Charter of Christopher Columbus, printed in 1493, stolen years before the National Library of Catalonia and found and seized by the North American authorities.
The story of this document seems a spy novel since it brings together all kinds of factors: mystery, theft, counterfeiting, smuggling, shady business, international projection, money and, above all, fascination.
Late in March 2018, Spanish Police arrested J. B. and O. C. in Barcelona for their participation in a criminal network which traded with Libyan antiquities used to finance the DAESH. It is the first police operation that demonstrates the direct financing of the terrorist group by looting archaeological pieces, although there were well-founded suspicions to believe that it was a usual source of income from the beginning of its activity all over the territories they controlled.