Agents of the National Police of the Jaén Police Station have recovered from a Marbella a carving of a Virgin with child, apparently from the thirteenth century, which may be related to the Battle of the Navas de Tolosa (1212).
The agents and technicians of the Provincial Museum of Jaén found the image in a poor state of conservation in a registered address, without any specific conservation and security measures for this type of works of art.
The recovery of the image, according to the Police in a statement, has been the result of an investigation opened in September 2019, called “Operation Queen” in which more than 2,000 pieces from different looting and various weapons were intervened, in the four domiciliary searches carried out: three in Santa Elena (Jaén) and one in Marbella where the image was found, being three people arrested.
At first, the size was intervened in the same address where it was found, pending its investigation since the possessor of the same could not document its legitimate property or the obligation to comply with the current regulations regarding this type of works of art, which it could be considered an asset of cultural interest.
In a second phase, the researchers focused on determining the origin of the carving, the legal or illegal ownership of the possessor and, most importantly, if it could be considered as an asset of cultural interest and therefore for the enjoyment of all citizens.
The researchers contacted the National Sculpture Museum of Valladolid, which had evidence that the sculpture belonged to an antiquarian collection since 1955 that was in Barcelona, however, the agents verified that said collection had disappeared with the Over the years.
When this first clue was diluted, the agents focused on knowing how the size had reached the current holder, who contributed to the Court an allegedly false purchase invoice, not being clear its origin.
After various steps, the agents contacted authorities, art experts, antique dealers, universities and the Catholic Church, as well as other national and international entities to find out the primary origin of the carving.
All the experts focused on the possible relationship that the statue could have with the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, which occurred in 1212. dating the image to the year 1200, something key for the investigation and for the judicial authority to order his transfer to Jaén.
Finally, the judicial authority has authorized the removal of the carving to put it at the disposal of the authorities of Culture of Jaén to carry out the necessary studies for its qualification, protection and conservation.
The researchers, together with two experts and technicians from the Provincial Museum, have traveled to Marbella to recover the size that has finally been deposited in the Provincial Museum of Jaén, at the disposal of the judicial authority.