Thieves Steal Italian Sculptor’s Gold Jewelry Exhibit

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Thieves have carried out a meticulously planned heist, stealing nearly 50 pieces of gold jewelry created by the renowned Italian sculptor Umberto Mastroianni. The stolen collection, valued at 1.2 million euros, was on display at the Vittoriale degli Italiani estate on Lake Garda in northern Italy. The thieves, described as a “highly specialized gang,” made off with the majority of the collection, leaving behind only one item. The Vittoriale, which hosted the exhibition, expressed deep concern over the loss, as these exquisite pieces were considered the most significant examples of Mastroianni’s gold production.

Lorenzo Zichichi, the president of the Centre for Studies of the Works of Umberto Mastroianni, described the stolen items as “wearable sculptures” and emphasized their importance in preserving the master’s legacy. The collection, which belonged to Mastroianni’s relatives, held immense sentimental value in addition to its artistic significance. If the stolen pieces are not recovered, it would be an irreparable loss for the art world.

The exhibition, titled “Like a warm and fluid gold: The golds of Umberto Mastroianni,” had been open since December at the Museo d’Annunzio Segreto and was scheduled to conclude on Friday. Mastroianni, renowned for his monumental sculptures, meticulously designed and crafted these works from the 1950s until his passing in 1998.

Out of the 49 stolen pieces, only one, titled “Man/Woman,” was later found within the complex, according to the Vittoriale. However, no further details regarding its recovery were provided. Giordano Bruno Guerri, the head of the Vittoriale, refrained from divulging specific information about the robbery, as the incident is currently under investigation by the police and art experts. Guerri did mention that the estate’s alarm systems were comprehensive and highly advanced, suggesting that the thieves were exceptionally skilled.

It is worth noting that the thieves targeted solely the Mastroianni collection, leaving other valuable jewelry untouched. Mastroianni, born in Fontana Liri in 1910, is known for his monumental sculptures commemorating the Italian resistance movement during World War II. In 1987, he generously donated 27 of his sculptures to the state.

The Vittoriale, an estate originally built by Gabriele D’Annunzio, an Italian writer, politician, and World War I hero, currently operates as a national monument under the management of a foundation. The theft has raised concerns about the security of valuable artworks and the ongoing need to protect cultural heritage.

As the investigation unfolds, authorities and art professionals are working diligently to recover the stolen collection. The loss of these precious pieces not only impacts the artistic community but also deprives the world of a tangible connection to the legacy of Umberto Mastroianni. The hope remains that these valuable works will be returned to their rightful place, ensuring their preservation for future generations to appreciate and admire.

Source: The Manila Times

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