Statement of Vienna’s Museum of Art History regarding theft of Cellini’s saliera

Vienna (ots) - Vienna�'s Museum of Art History is regrettably obliged to disclose news of a burglary at one of its rooms in the painting gallery during the night from 10-11 May 2003, resulting in the theft of Benvenuto Cellini�'s famous salt-cellar, the saliera, which was taken from a glass display cabinet.

Preliminary indications are that one or more of the perpetrators managed to get into the first floor via the scaffolding erected next to the front of the building in the Lastenstrasse, destroying windows and the glass of the cabinet in the process, and evading the theatre�'s monitoring and surveillance facilities.

The theatre is equipped with a state-of-the-art alarm system featuring movement sensors and CCTV.

The burglar alarm, however, was recorded as going off by museum security. An internal investigation is currently being held to discover whether, and if so why, security guards were apparently so late in responding to the alarm call.

The museum is manned around the clock with security staff, with three guards occupying the night watch and carrying out patrols to ensure the security of the building at regular intervals.

The saliera was on display in the museum�'s Raffael Room just in front of the "Madonna in green". It is deemed to be one of the most significant works of art from the Renaissance period, and the only surviving piece by Benvenuto Cellini. Because it consists of thin gold foil, its face value is considered to be relatively low.

Since the object is irreplaceable, no information was forthcoming on the value for which it had been insured by brokers UNIQA.

The museum is offering a reward of EUR 70,000 (some USD 75,000) for any information or indications leading to the apprehension of the criminal(s) responsible.

ots Original Text Service: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Internet: http://www.presseportal.de

For any further questions, please contact the museum�'s PR officer Anita Mader at:

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Mag. Anita Mader

Abtlg. für �-ffentlichkeitsarbeit und Presse

Tel.: (+43 1) 525 24/404


http://www.khm.at ~