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Police recover stolen Leonardo painting

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« on: October 05, 2007, 12:22:13 am »

Police recover stolen Leonardo painting

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 4, 2:21 PM ET

British police arrested four men on Thursday after recovering Leonardo da Vinci's ""Madonna with the Yarnwinder" which had been stolen in August 2003 from Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland's southwest by thieves posing as tourists.(AFP/OFF)

LONDON - Detectives on Thursday recovered a Leonardo da Vinci painting that was stolen from a Scottish castle in a daring daylight raid four years ago.

Officers raided an address in Glasgow and seized "Madonna with the Yarnwinder," Scotland's Dumfries and Galloway police said. Three men from England and one man from Scotland were arrested.

The painting appeared on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list of stolen art and on the Art Loss Register's list of stolen masterpieces, where it was valued at $65 million.

Police said art experts had confirmed the recovered painting was the Leonardo masterpiece, stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in southern Scotland in August 2003.

The lead investigator, Detective Chief Inspector Mickey Dalgleish, said the painting had been tracked down in a combined operation by Scottish police and national crime agencies, with help from the public.

"We are extremely pleased to recover the 'Madonna with the Yarnwinder' painting," he said.

"Madonna with the Yarnwinder" was stolen from the castle while it was on public display. Two thieves posing as tourists overpowered a guide before escaping with the painting.

The oil-on-wood painting, which shows the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus on her lap holding a cross-shaped spindle for yarn, is one of several versions of the same scene painted between 1500 and 1510.

Some scholars have suggested the painting is the work of Leonardo's assistants, but Scottish experts have said that the central figures of the Madonna and child are the artist's own work, and that the overall design is likely to be his.

Drumlanrig Castle, which houses one of the finest private art collections in Britain, also contains masterpieces by Rembrandt and Holbein. The structure, completed in 1691, is one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Scotland and is home to one of Scotland's richest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch.

The painting had been in the Buccleuch family for more than 200 years. Its recovery comes a month after the death at 83 of the ninth Duke of Buccleuch. He was succeeded by his son.
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