A painting attributed to the Italian artist Caravaggio has been stolen from a museum in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, local media reported on Thursday.

`The Taking of Christ,` painted between 1573 and 1602, was stolen on Wednesday night, a museum source told the Interfax news agency.

`The windows had been carefully removed and that is how the criminal got into the museum. The alarm did not go off because the windows had not been broken,` Odessa police chief Vladimir Bossenko was quoted as saying.

The source of the work has been in doubt in the past. It was at one time thought to be a copy of a picture on display at the National Gallery in Dublin.

But in 1950, a Moscow art expert declared that the painting in Odessa was in fact the work of Caravaggio.

The painting had been bought by a Russian ambassador to France and then given to Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich at the end of the 19th century.

After the Russian Revolution, the painting was given to the art school in Odessa and then the museum.

AFP, AsiaOneNews


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