Shadowy path to MFA and a glorious return

21 Dec 2010 9:59 AM | Anonymous

Shadowy path to MFA and a glorious return

By Geoff Edgers
Globe Staff / December 20, 2010
The embroidered panel is just 14-by-20 inches. But the director of the tiny Italian museum never forgot it. Just before World War II, he spotted it in a drawer of a church in Trent, a town in Northern Italy.

Tweet 3 people Tweeted thisYahoo! Buzz ShareThis Then, mysteriously, it was gone, whisked overseas, sold by a New York gallery, and finally tucked away in storage here at the Museum of Fine Arts. It has not been seen by the public for at least two decades undefined until today.

That 620-year-old piece, “The Entombment of Saint Vigilius,’’ will get a hero’s homecoming in a museum in Trent. The MFA, after determining the work it had purchased back in 1946 for $3,000 had been stolen, quietly sent the piece back to Italy in October.

“It’s a beautiful textile, very fragile, and precious with silver and gold,’’ said Alessandra Galizzi, a professor of museum studies at the University of Trent, who helped broker the return. “It is especially meaningful to this city. It belongs here.’’

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