Italy seizes forged art that cost collectors millions

The original Dance by Henri Matisse on the wall in the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. Works by Henri Matisse were among those copied

Related Stories

Italian police have seized more than 500 counterfeit pieces of art bought by collectors for millions of euros.

Twelve people have been arrested for forgery and trade after an 18-month-long investigation by authorities.

Police recovered the art by searching the homes of legitimate art collectors, who had bought the pieces online.

The pieces, which included Matisse and Magritte forgeries, cost buyers a total of 8.8 million euros (£7.2m), ANSA news agency reported.

'Good quality'

One painting, a large canvas said to have been by 19th Century artist Teofili Patini, sold for 600,000 euros (£490,000).

Another, a copy of a painting by Baroque artist Guido Reni, fetched 300,000 euros (£245,000).

Police said the fakes were "good quality" and that the artists who forged them had used similar techniques to the original painters.

The investigation included monitoring payment transactions online and consulting art historians.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • KnucklesGood or bad?

    For many it can be very satisfying to 'crack' the bones in your hand, but is it bad for you?


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.