Reneissance masterpiece: from Swiss to Wroclaw safe
Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'Madonna under the fir tree', one of the most precious pieces of art missing from Poland after WW II, has been returned to Wroclaw after 65 years of absence.
The masterpiece was taken away from Wroclaw's cathedral, where it had been kept since 1510, by German authorities at the end of WW II, for safe keeping. After the war the 'Madonna' was smuggled away from Wroclaw and disappeared. It was recently found in Switzerland at an anonymous art collector, and Wroclaw diocese, the owner of the painting, regained it at no cost, except for the Swiss lawyer's fee. At present the value of the painting is estimated at at least a few million dollars, although in fact the item is priceless.
For Wroclaw regaining Cranach's 'Madonna under the fir tree' is of most importance, not only due to all war loses, but also to the fact that there is hardly another piece of art of equivalent value, it's world league, said Piotr Oszczanowski, PhD, modern art expert.
However for several months now the future of the priceless painting hasn't been decided. In summer the spokesperson for Wroclaw curia, Rev. Stanisław Jźwiak said the masterpiece would be exhibited in the Archidioecesal Museum, but as it turned out, the instutution can't afford the cost of securing it. Hence, the paining is locked away from view in an archidioecesal safe.
- It's a priceless masterpiece, I can't just hang it on the wall. A special cabinet, preparing the room, alarm system and so on cost a fortune and during crisis I can't hope for sponsors - told Gazeta Wyborcza daily Rev. Jozef Pater, the director of the Archidioecesal Museum.
As for now, support has been declared by the mayor of Wroclaw, Rafal Dutkiewicz, who said 'Madonna' was a great treasure, both material and historical, and it needed to be displayed as soon as possible, for Wroclaw needed to appreciate its heritage.
Also, the mayor declared having contacted with Rev. Pater and undertaking certain steps to solve the case.