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2015 (EN)
Art theft

Grigoriadou, Polyxeni

In recent years the list of art thefts is growing increasingly longer and longer. Every year thousands of museums and art galleries, but especially smaller institutions, churches, monasteries and Chappells, across Europe, which lack elaborate security, e.g the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway are stripped of their most precious objects (paintings, icons, antiquities). Places of worship, rural churches, in many countries - Italy, Greece, Russia and France and Belgium, on a smaller scale - placed away from downtown are frequently victimized by offenders, who take advantage of the location of the church (away from police stations) and the poor security system. As a result, art is sequestered, probably permanently out of view. With a view to emphasizing the severity of this subtype of art crime and its repercussions, the first part of the main body of this report examines a series of case studies, which provide an enlightening illustration of the nature and gravity of this phenomenon. These examinations indicate that there is a connection between art theft and organized crime. So, in the second part, this report highlights the link to organized criminality, which involves, e.g. paintings that are used as collateral in drug trades, art-napping, e.t.c. Many salient themes are present in this study: looting, illicit trafficking in art and antiquities, transnational crime. I argue that the theft of works of art has been presenting a steady increase in recent decades and over the years it has developed some new prongs: The underworlds of stolen art, drugs and arms now tend to overlap.


Theft from museums
Dissertations, Academic
Art thieves
Art thefts



School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies,MA in Art, Law and Economy

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