Art's 'Indiana Jones' recovers ancient mosaic
A Dutch investigator known as the ‘Indiana Jones of the art world’ has tracked down a 1600-year-old mosaic stolen from Cyprus.
Art detective Arthur Brand found the rare artefact – valued at up to $15 million – in the hands of an unwitting British family, reports the UK Telegraph.
“This is a very special piece that’s more than 1,600 years old. It’s one of the last and most beautiful examples of art from the early Byzantine era,” Brand told AFP.
In a two-year investigation, Brand traced the mosaic depiction of Saint Mark to a Monaco apartment.
Brand said the family purchased it more than 40 years ago in good faith and were “horrified” when they discovered it was a missing art treasure.
They agreed to return the mosaic to Cyprus in return for a small fee to pay for restoration and storage costs.
Last Friday Brand returned the artwork to Cypriot diplomats in The Hague.
The mosaic was among prized artefacts looted on Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of the island.
Brand made headlines three years ago when he tracked down to giant bronze statues created by Nazi sculptor Joseph Thorak, known as ‘Hitler’s Horses’.