‘Michelangelo’ painting stolen from Belgian church days before experts were to authenticate it

A 16th-century painting has been stolen from a church – days before it was to be examined by experts to see if it was created by Michelangelo.

The painting, which could be worth millions, was taken from St Ludgerus church in the small of Zele, Belgium, after being left in a room without any alarms.

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It was donated by a parishioner 16 years – but only recently did the church’s pastor realize that the work, depicting the Holy Family, could actually belong to the famous painter, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

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Michelangelo is one of the most revered artists of all time, known for creating the Sistine Chapel frescoes and his iconic sculpture of Biblical figure David.

Pastor Jan Van Raemdonck had recently given the painting a more prominent position in the church while waiting for an Italian art expert to authenticate the piece.

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The priest, who is also a passionate historian, recently noticed that the painting resembled a sketch by the Renaissance master – depicting Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist and Jesus as a small infant.

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