Art: Displaced Masterpiece

Before the war in Italy rolled north to Monte Cassino, the chief ornament of the monastery's Chapel of the Assumption was a handsome altarpiece of the Virgin. Then the ancient monastery threatened to become a defensive keystone for the Germans, and U.S. bombers leveled it.*The painting, by 17th-Century Paolo de Matteis, disappeared amid the rubble. Officially it was written off as a lost art treasure.

Last week the State Department announced that De Matteis' Assumption of the Virgin was not lost, just displaced. A German private who was also something of an artist had spotted the picture in the ruins, rolled...

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