A British art collector who bought a pair of 17th-century marble angels from a Neapolitan antiques shop twenty years ago has returned the winged “putti” to Italy’s art police after learning that they had been stolen from a church.
The angels, decorated with strategically placed vine of leaves and fruit, had been stolen from the St. Sebastian church in Guardia Sanframondi, northeast of Naples, on December 13, 1989. The collector after learning of their origin returned the angels without any legal fight. They were formally handed over Tuesday to Italy at a ceremony at the French Embassy.
Churches in the area had been subjected to numerous thefts after the 1980 Irpinia earthquake leveled huge swaths of southern Italy.
– Ella Breedlove