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Stolen portrait returns to Rotterdam museum after being spotted at auction

A 17th-century portrait of Prince Maurits of Orange is on its way back to the Rotterdam Museum nearly 50 years after it was stolen from the galleries. The painting by Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, which dates from 1607, turned up at an auction at the Zeeuws Veilinghuis in Middelburg. The museum was tipped off a day before the sale was due to take place and alerted police, who assigned the case to a specialist art and antiquities crime team. The current owner was unaware that the artwork had been stolen and accepted a finder’s reward after it was withdrawn from sale. Museum director Paul van de Laar said: ‘You don’t expect a stolen work of art to turn up again after so many years. We are absolutely delighted and full of praise for the efforts of the police.’ The painting of Prince Maurits, son of William the Silent and one of the most successful military commanders of the Eighty Years’ War, was one of several high-profile portraits by Van Mierevelt, whose subjects also included Hugo de Groot, P.C. Hooft and Constantijn Huygens. The work will be displayed at Rotterdam Museum on October 20 and 21.

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