Long-lost Titian painting worth $7million has been recovered by Italian heritage police after being sent for restoration

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The Carabinieri, the cultural heritage protection unit of the Italian police, have announced the recovery of a long-lost painting believed to be by Renaissance master Titian. The book, titled Portrait of a man with a beret (circa 1512), disappeared in 2004. He was thought to have been taken to Switzerland, but a tip led authorities to a workshop in the Asti region of Piedmont, Italy, where he had been taken for be restored.

Valued at just over $7 million, the portrait depicts a man with a red beard and black cap staring directly at the viewer. Police issued a seizure order to recover the work, which was handed over to the Italian state in a ceremony on May 19.

Two Swiss citizens are currently under investigation into the disappearance of the painting, according to for Forbes.

The specialized Italian police unit that recovered the work has 280 dedicated investigators tasked with protecting Italy’s priceless cultural treasures. In March 2019, tThe same unit dismantled a cultural trafficking network that operated in the country through a raid which has recovered around 10,000 ancient objects from 28 countries.

Titian Portrait of a man with a beret (circa 1512), disappeared for the first time in 2004. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images.

Born Tiziano Vecellio in Pieve di Cadore, a small town near Venice, Titian was active in the 16th century and became well known for his dramatic images of social, religious and mythical subjects. His most famous work is perhaps Venus of Urbino (1538), depicting a reclining nude woman gazing shyly at the viewer.

Throughout his career, Titian experimented with different styles and quickly found success with local aristocratic patrons. He was later called upon to serve as court painter by Italian princes and the papacy, as well as the Habsburg dynasty in Austria.

In 2011, Sotheby’s sold Titian’s painting Madonna and Child (circa 1508) for $16.9 million, setting what remains an auction record for the artist. Last week, a 1565 work by the old master titled Penitent Magdalen sold for $4.9 million at Viennese auctioneers Dorotheum.

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