ROME (Reuters) - A mural by secretive British street artist Banksy stolen from the Bataclan theatre in Paris, where Islamist gunmen killed 90 people in 2015, has been found in a farmhouse in central Italy, police said on Thursday.
The work, one of a series of murals painted in June 2018 in the French capital, shows a veiled female figure staring mournfully downwards.
Thieves stole the mural in January last year, apparently using portable grinders to remove a fire-exit door before carrying it off in a van, the daily La Repubblica reported.
Magistrates in the central city of L’Aquila said the mural had been recovered on Wednesday morning from an attic.
Emanuele Mazzotta, a police commander from the nearby town of Alba Adriatica, said the mural had been found in a house in the countryside but it appeared that the occupants may not have been aware of the value of the artwork or what it was.
“The man who on the other hand brought the Banksy mural inside the house, had total control over it, he had free access to the house and the door was placed in the upper part of the attic,” he told a news conference.
The Bataclan, one of Paris’ best-known rock venues, was stormed by militants during a concert in November 2015, as part of coordinated attacks around the city that killed 130 people.
Banksy, who keeps his real identity secret, has become one of the most distinctive personalities of the modern art scene with a series of witty artworks in public places that mix street art techniques with powerful political points.
He has most recently reacted to the death of black American George Floyd after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
He also proposed a new presentation of the toppling of 17th century slave owner Edward Colston that was brought down by protesters in the artist’s home city of Bristol.
Reporting by Eleanor Biles and Emily Roe; Editing by Giles Elgood