German Police Say 17th Century Paintings Found in Roadside Dumpster

German police appealed Friday for information about the possible owners of two 17th-century paintings discovered in a highway rest stop dumpster.

17th Century Paintings
Complex News

Image via Pietro Bellotti/Cologne Police

17th Century Paintings

Two original paintings from 17th century European artists were found in a roadside dumpster in southeast Germany.

CNN reports the framed oil paintings were found by a 64-year-old man at a highway service station in the Bavaria region last month. The man later handed the paintings to police in the western city of Cologne.

Officers have launched an appeal for the owner of the paintings. An initial assessment from an art expert concluded the paintings were likely original works, police said.

One is a self-portrait by Pietro Bellotti (1625-1700) showing the Italian artist smiling and dating back to 1665. According to the Galleria Canesso in Switzerland, the artist “worked for highly prominent families in Venice and beyond” including patrons such as Cardinal Ottoboni and the Governor of Milan.

The other portrait is of a boy by the 17th-century Dutch artist Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678), date unknown. Hoogstraten was a painter and writer who trained under Rembrandt in Amsterdam, according to the Leiden Collection, one of the world’s largest private collections of works from the Dutch Golden Age. 

Hoogstraten was born in Dordrecht but also worked in the Hague, Vienna, Rome and London. His treatise, Introduction to the High School of the Art of Painting, published after his death, is regarded as a valuable insight into Rembrandt’s views on painting.

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