After a long 42 years, the Spanish police have finally discovered the stolen piece of a stunning 17th-century tapestry. According to the Spanish news outlet Agencia EFE, the missing piece was the result of a notorious art heist and has long been a thorn in the side of art history.
This saga started on 7th November 1980, when an art heist took place in the northern Spanish town of Castrojeriz. A notorious art thief slipped into the historic Church of Santo Domingo and stole a total of six Flemish tapestries dating back to the 17th century. The six-part tapestry series was created by artist Cornielle Schutz and depicted classical liberal arts muses. The largest woven artwork of the series is titled ‘The Apotheosis of the Arts,’ and stretches 20 feet wide by 13 feet tall. As per the information given by Agencia EFE, within a couple of years, Interpol managed to locate and recover all the stolen tapestries, except for one. The largest tapestry has been missing till now, a two-by-two-foot square part, which was cut from the lower-left corner of the main big piece.
Until last year, the authorities were under the belief that the corner piece of the tapestry was lost forever. But the scenario changed when Spanish National Police investigator Angel Alcaraz reopened the case. Alcaraz contacted one of the lawyers who worked with the art thieves. He eventually revealed the location of the long-missing tapestry piece. The effort of Alcaraz paid off and the tapestry fragment was officially returned to the Catholic church of Castrojeriz in a formal ceremony. The police suspect that the thief had cut off the small square piece intending to frame it and sell it separately but somehow failed in his attempt. They also suspect that the prolific art thief of the 1980s Erik “el Belga” or Erik the Belgian was behind this notorious one-man art heist.