Roman sculpture star of stolen art exhibit

April 24, 2008 at 5:08 PM

ROME, April 24 (UPI) -- An annual exhibit of stolen and recovered artworks that opened Thursday in Rome includes a Roman portrait sculpture missing for almost half a century.

The exhibit at Castel Sant' Angelo spans the centuries from the Roman empire to Renaissance paintings, a Vincent Van Gogh drawing and works by Marc Chagall and Andy Warhol, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. All were recovered this year by Italian art police, along with manuscript letters and valuable books.

The head of Empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius and adoptive mother of Marcus Aurelius, is the star of the show. The marble head was stolen in 1961 from the Roman theater of Minturnae, where it had been excavated less than a year before.

Art police discovered the head in New York.

The show features, for the first time, an exhibit of copycat -- or forged -- art works. "Happiness of Return" is open through June 29.

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