A Caravaggio for Christmas: is his stolen Nativity masterpiece about to reappear?
Missing since the 1960s, Caravaggio’s Christ in the manger is believed to have been stolen by the mafia and eaten by hogs. But could the painting now be recovered in time for Christmas? It’s that time of year when the nativity paintings in Europe’s churches and museums get their month in the glow of fairy lights. Printed on Christmas cards, these religious masterpieces might make us pause and think for a moment about their serious themes of life, death, change, hope – and loss. One of the most moving of all such scenes of reverence for a newborn child is about to mark its 50th year in limbo. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s Nativity With Saints Lawrence and Francis was painted in Palermo, capital of Sicily, in 1609 and stolen 360 years later. It hasn’t been seen since, at least not by any honest citizen. Yet as the anniversary of its disappearance approaches, it may be about to resurface. Like