Rodolfo Siviero: The 007 of Italian Art
The 007 of Italian art, sent behind enemy lines to recover the stolen works. A secret operation aimed at bringing back important works in Italy that were part of our heritage.
During the Second World War, Rodolfo Siviero was commissioned to recover the works of art stolen by the Nazis during their retirement.
In the 30’s it became part of S.I.M. (Italian Military Information Service) as a secret agent and in 1937 he went to Berlin to gather information on the Nazi regime under the cover with a scholarship in art history.
After Sept. 8, 1943, Siviero mainly deals with monitoring the Nazi military body called Kunstschutz, a body originally established with the aim of protecting cultural heritage from damage because of the war, but under the Nazi directives was about to traverse from Italy to Germany the largest number of works of art.
In 1944 he was imprisoned and tortured by the fascist militia of Mario Carezza in the famous Villa Triste in Via Bolognese, Florence. Resisted the interrogators and, thanks to the interest of some republican officials who actually collaborate with the allies, was released.
The President of the Council of Ministers, Alcide De Gasperi, in 1946, with the merits gained in the Resistance, appointed Siviero as “Minister of Plenipotentiary” with the task of directing a diplomatic mission to the allied military government in Germany with the aim of establishing the principle of restitution of the works transfigured to Italy.
Having brought back most of the works to Italy, he was systematically searching for, on behalf of the Government, all the works of art stolen and exported from Italy. This intense activity, which was nicknamed “007 of Italian art”, lasts until his death in 1983. Rodolfo Siviero leaves, for disposition, his home and all the property in it to the Tuscany Region which, after eight years of his death, transformed it into a museum.
Among the works recovered by Siviero the most important is the Annunciation of Blessed Angelico.
Among other things, we can remember many works by De Chirico, Danae di Tiziano, Discobolo.
The Madonna of the Bullet of the Masaccio was first recovered by Siviero in 1947 and then on 9 April 1973 following his theft in March 1971.
Siviero’s name will always be linked to Italian history and culture. A man so in love with art to risk his life for him and his country. It is thanks to men like him that we can still enjoy the wonderful works that make Italy famous all over the world.
For more information, visit the Florence Museum site or call 055-713655.
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