La Oferta

March 26, 2023

Bolivia recovers art looted from churches

A worker of the Culture Ministry places some of the 70 works of art from the 17th and 20th centuries recovered from a house in Santa Cruz, from where they were allegedly going to be illegally sold outside the country, in La Paz, Bolivia, 05 October 2018. The pieces include paintings, silver-smithng, sculptures, altarpieced and musical instruments from the 17th, 18th and 20th century. EFE

La Paz, Oct 5 (EFE).- Bolivia’s Culture Ministry announced Friday the recovery of 70 stolen works of art dating from as early as the 17th century.

The items include paintings, silver creations, sculptures, altarpieces and musical instruments, and were recovered in collaboration with police and the Attorney General’s Office.

Culture Minister Wilma Alanoca told the media that whoever had stockpiled these works inside a residence in the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz quite possibly intended to sell them abroad.

“The rescue was made possible thanks to an anonymous tip that a collector had accumulated all these items,” she said.

The pieces are presumed to have come from churches and chapels in remote rural areas and will be exhibited for 90 days at the Cultural Heritage Department in La Paz so their owners have a chance to reclaim them.

Once that period is over, the ministry will dispatch the works to museums, Alanoca said.

An official with the Cultural Heritage Department, Carmen Loza, said that the oldest work is a 17th-century painting of the surrender of Granada, and noted that altogether this is an art collection of incalculable value.