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Caravaggio copy stolen in 
daring copycat art theft

By our art crime correspondent, Ivor Ransom

 

In a daring copycat art theft, copycat art thieves have broken into a Ukraine museum and stolen a copy of a painting by Caravaggio now in Washington DC that was copied from another Caravaggio in Chile that was stolen last year in a daring copycat art theft that was itself a copy of a theft that took place in Boston the previous year of a Caravaggio not thought to be the original.

Caravaggio is known as the most copied painter in the history of art theft. Most of the seventeenth-century Italian painter’s works have been copied at some point and the majority of them have been stolen in daring copycat art thefts of earlier thefts of copies.

Police investigating the theft from the Odessa Open Doors Museum told reporters, “This painting is a copy of an earlier copy in Washington DC that was stolen last year. Clearly the thieves that stole this one were unaware that the copy stolen last year from Dublin, er, no, sorry, Chile, was also copied from an even earlier copy in, I think, Odessa, or maybe it was Boston, although we can’t be sure of that. It’s going to be hard to get to the bottom of this since we’re not sure where the bottom is or whether there is a bottom or just a copy of the bottom. Even that bottom could be a copy.”

Renowned art historian Xerox Van Honthorst of the University of Michigan, who is an authority on copies of Caravaggio copies, said, “This Odessa copy is the finest copy I’ve ever seen, even surpassing the Washington copy of the Chilean version of the Dublin original, which could itself be a copy of an unknown painting, or an earlier copy. Obviously, the copycat thieves will have difficulty selling it, particularly since nobody knows whether it’s an original copy or a very good copy of the most copied version on record.”

At this point, journalists beat Mr Van Honthorst to the floor with battered old copies of the collected works of Walter Benjamin, screaming, “Die, you dissembling bastard! Die!”

Soon afterwards, a blood-spattered and clearly shaken Mr Van Honthorst was rescued from the baying throng by armed officers from the Anti-Fraud Squad. Or it may have been a copy of the Anti-Fraud Squad. It was impossible to tell.

Ivor Ransom

 

 


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