Stolen De Boulogne Sculpture Rediscovered In Museum Toilet In Paris

There has been a strange art theft that mirrors the recent attempts to steal another work of art. Le Monde reports that on Saturday, at approximately 4:30 pm, a security guard at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs gave the alert of the disappearance of a Jean de Boulogne bronze sculpture. The artwork depicts Samson and the Philistines, and is valued between €300,000 to 400,000, or £234,000 to £312,000.

The museum immediately closed to visitors, and the remaining art lovers were ushered towards the exit, where they were thoroughly searched. Yet no one was found to be carrying the five-kilogram (11 pound) Mannierist sculpture, made by the Flemish-born, Florence-based artist also known as Giambologna, who was a highly respected sculptor working during the last quarter of the 16th century.

In a surprising turn of events – that mirrors the recent theft of a Medardo Rosso masterpiece stolen from a museum in Rome – the artwork was found that same evening in of all places, the inside of a rubbish bin in the museum’s public toilets. The location suggests that upon the discovery of the theft that the not-so-cunning art thief got cold feet, and abandoned the statue before being searched.

The museum, which is located in the Louvre Palace, has a CCTV system installed across its galleries. Members of the French Vandalism Repression Brigade are currently in the process of reviewing the footage to identify the perpetrator. But so far in this case no arrests have been made.

The case seems uncannily similar to the theft and subsequent re-appearance of a rare Medardo Rosso bust, which took place in Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna last month. In a strange turn of events that are highly reminiscent of the Jean de Boulogne theft and re-appearence, 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. Now it would seem there may be a new trend in testing museum security. Continue to check Artlyst for updates on the case.

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