Hijacked art pieces are no longer lost, at least not in the digital realm. Art lovers can now visit a metaverse gallery. And it exists solely to display masterpieces that were stolen and never recovered. These works have been missing for years and are associated with some bizarre stories.

According to Compass UOL, the company behind the gallery, "The Stolen Art Gallery is the very first metaverse gallery that exhibits major pieces of artwork that have either been stolen or are missing. In this immersive social experience hall, visitors, enthusiasts, and critics can converse with masterpieces that vanished decades ago."

Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence 

Caravaggio's Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence is featured in the gallery. In 1969, it was taken away from an oratory in Sicily, Italy, during a stormy night. It is likely one of the world's most famous missing illustrations. It was finished by an Italian painter in 1609.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio#/media/File:Caravaggio_005.jpg

Caravaggio was well-known for his dramatic paintings, which frequently depicted violent hardships, brutality, and people being killed. He worked quickly with live models, skipping preliminary drawings and working closely on canvas.

The biblical birth of Jesus is depicted in this stolen work, with saints Francis of Assisi and Lawrence encompassing Mary and the newborn. The image is large, measuring 2.7 meters tall by two meters wide. Two thieves grabbed it by removing it from its frame. They then stole a carpet and rolled it up to protect the painting.

The Mafia mystery continues

According to investigators, the painting passed through the hands of the Sicilian Mafia in the decades following the theft. This criminal society of Sicily, known as Cosa Nostra by its members, is assumed to acquire the painting still.

There have been numerous mafia informants who have asserted that they understand where it is. Salvatore Riina, according to one, was using it as a floor mat. According to a different source, Riina frequently displayed it at meetings.

Francesco Marino Mannoia, a Cosa Nostra member, confessed to police in 2005 that he was involved in the theft. He claimed that it had been stolen on commission. When the private buyer saw how badly the painting had been damaged after the theft, he sobbed and refused to pay. Mannoia stopped short of providing the artwork's current location.

According to some accounts, the artwork was passed from boss to boss. Gerlando Alberti was one alleged boss. However, when he was arrested in 1981, he was said to have buried the portrait with cash and drugs. No artwork was discovered when his nephew showed police the burial site.

Filippo Graviano, another mafia figure, claimed the painting was destroyed in the 1980s after being offered to the Pullara family in Palermo. They hid it in a barn, but when they returned, it had been devoured by rats and pigs.

The Replica

The Sky television network commissioned a replica of the painting in 2015 as a part of a documentary about the artwork, its theft, and its replication. During its last restoration in 1951, the new painting was reproduced using presentations and images of the original artwork. The replica has hung over the altar where the original once stood for hundreds of years.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oratory_of_San_Lorenzo,_Palermo#/media/File:Oratorio_San_Lorenzo_-_Interno.jpg

Additional works

Rembrandt's only seascape is Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee. It's also on exhibit in the metaverse gallery. In 1990, thieves stole it from the Gardner Museum in Boston. In terms of modern history, this was the largest art heist ever.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Storm_on_the_Sea_of_Galilee#/media/File:Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee.jpg

After entering the metaverse and viewing this painting, fans can tap their wrist. According to Compass UOL, "as moonlight filters through a skylight into the gallery's darkened warehouse and you notice the crashing storm at sea, you can tap your wrist to have a mini bust of Rembrandt materialize." Rembrandt says he "included a self-portrait in the boat, the only sailor looking back at you from the painting."

Cézanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise can also be found in the metaverse gallery.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_of_Auvers-sur-Oise#/media/File:View_of_Auvers-sur-Oise_Paul_Cezanne.png

This work was stolen from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK, in the early hours before sunrise on New Year's Day, 1999. The raid had been meticulously planned. Other Van Gogh and Manet paintings can also be found in the stolen gallery.

The metaverse encounter

According to market research firm Gartner, this type of metaverse encounter backs up their research. They asserted that by 2026, 25% of people would spend at least an hour per day in the metaverse.

Are you an art enthusiast? Maybe you would like an immersive experience with these masterpieces? Let us hear your thoughts by sharing this article on social media.

Sep 28, 2022
Digital Lifestyle

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