Greek police recovered a stolen Picasso painting and it fell to the floor

The scene was captured by Greek television cameras on Tuesday, during the act in which the police announced that they had recovered the canvas, “Head of a woman” (1939). In the images, it is seen how the painting slowly falls from the podium on which it had been installed and is smashed against the ground.

Quickly a man with a mask, but without gloves, picks it up and puts it back.

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni criticized the incident on Thursday but insisted the painting “appears to be in good condition.”

The painting – a gift Pablo Picasso made to Greece in 1949 – had been stolen along with another by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (“Windmill with a summer house”) from the National Gallery of Athens in 2012.

A later official report concluded that the institution’s security systems had not been renewed since 2000. Several areas of the museum did not even have surveillance cameras and the alarms were not working properly.

Police claimed that a 49-year-old bricklayer confessed to being the author of the robbery and that he had been arrested.

According to the Minister of Culture, Picasso’s canvas would have been “impossible” to resell due to the dedication written in French that says: “For the Greek people, a Picasso tribute.”

Picasso’s cubist work represents a bust of a woman and was a gift from the Spanish painter to the Greek people in 1949, for their resistance to Nazi forces.

The author of the theft said that at first he had kept the canvases at home, but that he recently hid them in a gorge in Keratea, about 45 kilometers southeast of Athens.

In the same robbery, a drawing by the 17th century Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia, better known as Moncalvo, representing San Diego de Alcalá, was also stolen.

However, the suspect claims he dumped it because it was damaged during the assault.

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