UPDATE: In a strange turn of events, the sculpture has been found, inside a storage locker, at the entrance to the Museum in an area used by the public. This has prompted the police to state that the thief may have had a change of heart. The news was broken by Corriere della Sera, which originally reported on the theft of the rare masterpiece by Rosso, entitled Bambino Malato (1893-95). The sculpture was found by the police yesterday afternoon.
The theft of a bronze by Italian Impressionist, Medardo Rosso has provoked an outcry over security, as a robber walks away with the 19th century work hidden under his jacket in broad daylight. It took the thief only minutes to steal the precious sculpture entitled ‘Sick Child,’ by Rosso, from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.
The act was literally ‘daylight robbery’ – from Italy’s premier modern art gallery in Rome – and has provoked a fresh outcry about whether enough finances are being allocated to protecting the country’s precious cultural assets; after the thief strolled out with €500,000 or £400,000 worth of the Italian nation’s sculpture under his jumper.
It took the daring thief dressed in a suit and tie only minutes to swipe the precious sculpture entitled from the National Gallery of Modern Art and walk away it during opening hours.The bronze sculpture was created by Rosso between 1893 and 1895, and is considered one of his finest masterpieces, often compared to Auguste Rodin.
Art historian and blogger Tomaso Montanari described the robbery as “incredible”; he went on to question whether government funding cuts had played a role; stating to the press: “You have to say that no museum can avoid robberies,” Montanari wrote in La Repubblica. “But it is upsetting to see a bronze by Medardo Rosso that can be taken away from a museum as if it was a self-service pizza.”
Officials from the National Museum Of Modern Art in Italy are uncertain when the robbery occurred but a custodian realised the sculpture was missing around 4.30pm on Friday. It has been reported that staff were distracted with the staging of an art show elsewhere in the building; as security cameras captured the thief leaving the museum, supposedly with a big lump under his clothing.
“The system is very well-equipped with alarms and video surveillance but we cannot give any more information as investigators have asked us for the utmost discretion,” said Museum director Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli; appearing to defend the position of the museum. “The video cameras filmed everything.” She then confirmed that the sculpture was insured for £400,000.