Several dozens of Russian works of art were delivered to the Russian Ministry of Culture from Russia's Embassy in Italy on Wednesday, February 5, Russian Foreign Ministry officials told RIA Novosti.
A total of 58 old Russian icons and 26 other religious objects were returned to Russia. An experts' check revealed that the icons were painted in the 17th - early 20th century by masters of Moscow, Vladimir, Pskov and Northern Russian icon-painting schools, while copper-cast articles were made in workshops around Moscow. "Thus, the return procedure of the cultural property illegally taken from Russia and confiscated by Italian customs in March, 2001 has been completed," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Italian authorities showed their readiness to return these works to Russia from the very beginning. In particular, the Russian origin of these works and the illegality of their taking abroad were proved.
The Foreign Ministry pointed out that cultural property was for the first time returned to Russia on the basis of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. In connection with this, the Russian Foreign Ministry thanked Italy for its constructive approach to an issue so crucial for this country.