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.
Guernica is one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century. The symbolic value of this piece, commissioned by the Spanish government to Pablo Picasso in 1937 to represent Spain at the Paris Universal Exhibition, surpasses the events that the painting itself was intended to convey. Josep Arnau, the General Director of Fine Arts at the time, along with other intellectuals and politicians of the moment, visited Picasso in Paris in January of 1937, and formally proposed to him the realisation of the work. The artist accepted, but by early April had not yet come to outline his work and the date of the universal exhibition was approaching.