Art & History

Famous paintings plundered by the Nazis | Raphael

Portrait of a Young Man is a painting in oil on panel, probably from 1513–1514, by the Italian High Renaissance Old Master painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino better known simply as Raphael. The painting was plundered by the Nazis in Poland. The subject’s identity is unverified, but many scholars have traditionally regarded it as Raphael’s self-portrait.

The facial features are perceived by specialists as compatible with, if not clearly identical to, the only undoubted self-portrait by Raphael in his fresco The School of Athens at the Vatican, identified as such by Vasari. If it is a self-portrait, no hint is given of Raphael’s profession; the portrait shows a richly-dressed and “confidently-poised” young man. In recent times, a book about Nazi plunder by Lynn H. Nicholas and a documentary film by the same title, The Rape of Europa, suggested that if the painting were to reappear today, it would be worth in excess of $100M US.

Current Status: Falsely reported to have been found 1 August 2012, the location is still unknown.

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