‘Lost Michelangelo’ painting stolen days before authentication

A painting thought to be a missing masterpiece by the famous Renaissance painter Michelangelo has been stolen from a small church in Belgium just days before experts arrived to verify its origin.

In a detective story worthy of its own Dan Brown novel, the painting was taken during the middle of the night from St Ludgerus church in the small Flemish town of Zele.

The theft came shortly before art experts were due to examine the painting of the Holy Family to verify if it actually is the work of the 16th century Renaissance painter whose creations rank among the most famous in existence. If confirmed, the painting could be worth $100mn or more, and would be Belgium’s only painting by the Italian master.

Also on rt.com Fake views? Study claims there's no ‘Mona Lisa effect’ in Da Vinci's masterpiece...

For 16 years, the painting sat in a dark corner of the small church after it was donated by a parishioner. Then, one day the local priest noticed that it bore stylistic similarities and shared a theme with the artist’s only other work located in Belgium, the Madonna of Bruges sculpture.

READ MORE: 'We realized how daft we’d been’: British Museum made glaring mistake for years

“The drawing, which is 100 percent sure of Michelangelo, shows just the same scene. That is why I thought that this too could be the work of Michelangelo, or one of his pupils,” Pastor Jan Van Raemdonck said.

After making the potential discovery, Van Raemdonck requested that the Church council approve funding for burglar alarms to be installed at the church, but the money was instead spent on restoring the church tower.

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s music video helped people go Apes**t for France’s Louvre museum in 2018

Without sufficient security measures in place, a thief was able to break in between 5am and 6am Friday and make off with the artwork. East Flanders police say that thief was a young man, aged between 17 and 20. The painting weighs a hefty 100kg, so the pastor believes more than one criminal was involved.

“They were only interested in that one painting,” says Johan Anthuenis, the chairman of the church council, “They have not even looked at all other valuable items.” The targeted nature of the theft has led the council to believe that the theft was connected to Van Raemdonck’s research.

Van Raemdonck knows something about art, and, ironically, art theft. He is an amateur novelist that had written a book about the theft of the “The Just Judges,” one of the most infamous art thefts in Belgium's history, before finding himself as one of the main character’s in the country’s latest art-world criminal escapade.

The Pastor’s most recent novel was on the Holy Family painting itself, he told Belgium media. “I would not have anticipated that the painting would really be stolen,” he added. “It is a beautiful painting – I just hope we can get it back.”

  • Published in Culture

Cartoonist François Deflandre in Cuba's Belgian Week

Havana, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) Belgian cartoonist François Deflandre will hold a conference-meeting on Friday during the 13th edition of the Belgian Week taking place in Cuba.

The event, entitled Before - After, will highlight the work of Deflandre focused on the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort and its garden cities.

As the program explains, the photographs and documents make a precise parallel between old (1930) and current (2015) views of these places where he has lived and drawn for thirty-two years.

The event will be at the Casa de Las Tejas Verdes, located on 2nd and 5th Avenue, Miramar district, and has the support of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Cuba and the Office of the City Historian.

François Deflandre is a graphic artist, draftsman and screenwriter, renowned for his narrative and visual style of strange surrealist stories.

He has works such as 'The Blood of the Automatons,' 'Gothic Puzzle,' 'The Circle of the Spectrums,' and 'The Accessorist'.

His passion for garden cities has earned him international awards and the recognition of critics and media in the world.

  • Published in Culture

Belgian-Cuban Project Wins 'Prize Digital for Development'

Brussels, Oct 6 (Prensa Latina) Digital application Wise Pocket, developed by the Cuban University of Oriente and the Vrije Universiteit of Brussels, won the prize ''Digital for Development'' for the most promising innovative idea in the ''IStartup'' category.

According to diplomatic sources, the awarded project received the prize from the Belgian deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Cooperation for Development, Alexander De Croo, who recognized the originality of the Cuban-Belgian project.

When handing the award, he also praised the interaction of the new technologies with other spheres of economic and social life and the easy access of this application to cell phones, with which campaigns of medical attention are more effective and quantify its efficiency and social impact.

In representation of the work group, specialist Dionis Lopez explained that the Project proposes a mobile integrated application that serves as development platform for the ministries of Public Health and organizations of that sector.

It allows to monitor health behaviors in vulnerable populations, it offers medical methodologies to health technicians not familiarized with specific illnesses, helps consolidate useful data in diagnostics and facilitates decision making.

He also stressed its easy accessibility as it can be obtained offline (without connection), giving a great advantage for territories without Internet connection. The 'Prize Digital for Development' is organized every two years by the Royal Museum of Central Africa, with the sponsorship of the General Direction of Cooperation for Development and Humanitarian Aid of the Belgian federal government.

For the first time in this edition was presented a Cuban project as nominated to the prize, aimed at recognizing the most advanced initiatives that uses digitalization and the new technologies as a tool for development and the achievement of the Objectives of Sustainable Development.

According to the diplomatic communiqué, the reward to the Cuban-Belgian project is a recognition to cooperation between universities that is developmed between both countries, and especially, between the Universidad de Oriente and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel , as well as then development achieved in that specialty by the Cuban institution.

  • Published in Cuba

Thieves Steal Red Bull Worth 1 Million Euros In Belgium

Brussels, Belgium: Thirsty thieves stole more than 300 pallets of Red Bull cans worth around one million euros from a depot in Belgium in what police described on Tuesday as a "very professional" heist.

The energy drink -- whose slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings" -- was stolen on Sunday from an industrial estate in Menin district, on the French border.

The team of thieves took around 12 hours and made repeated trips to take the equivalent of 11 trucks worth of the drink from the depot, which is on the motorway linking the Belgian city of Ghent to Lille in northern France.

A Belgian police source told AFP they were using CCTV images to identify the suspects, and would not rule out that they had inside help.

Belgium's Dutch-language Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper made fun of the brand's slogan, saying that "it seems 950,000 cans have themselves been given wings".

Red Bull was created in the 1980s by the Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz and is a major sponsor of sports including motor racing.

  • Published in World

France vs Belgium: A 'Final Quality' Match

This is one of the matches that could easily have been the Final of this 2018 World Cup in Russia. Both teams have the strength, speed and determination to be a FIFA World Champion, but only one can take a step forward to the finals.

France and Belgium will meet Tuesday in St. Petersburg, after both teams booked their spots among the most talented in the 2018 staging of the soccer World Cup. Both teams were among the favorites during the 'pre-tournament' analysis.

This fixture is one of the matches that could easily have been the 'Final' of this 2018 World Cup in Russia. Both teams have the strength, speed and determination to be a FIFA World Champion, but only one can take a giant step forward to the finals.

The Breakdown: Belgium

A Belgian national team, with players such as Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, who are part of the country's "golden generation," directing them is Spanish Coach Roberto Martinez, who has had a positive impact on this national outfit.

Belgium has waited over three decades to get as far as the semifinals in a World Cup. Now, with well-orchestrated teamwork, the "golden generation" is determined to fight for the championship. This is the team with the highest number of goals scored in the World Cup, 15, so far.

Complemented by one of the world's best goalkeepers, Thibaut Courtois.

The Breakdown: France

Facing them is France, the 1998 World Cup winner, that has players such as Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba or Antoine Griezman. They are trained by Didier Deschamps, who won the Cup in 1998 as a player and is now trying to do the same as a coach.

Another key piece in this national team, to possibly achieve the important victory, is the experience of its goalkeeper. Even though France has a young team, they also have a very experienced player on the team, the goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris.

The Conclusion

This match promises lots of action - a firecracker, on paper anyway.

  • Published in Sports

Hazard, Lukaku Score as Belgium Thump Tunisia 5-2, Advance to World Cup Knockout Phase

Two goals each for Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard helped Belgium to a 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia Saturday that showcased their attacking verve, star quality and put them firmly on course for the World Cup knockout phase.

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to add a late fifth but it was by no means all plain sailing for Roberto Martinez's side, and they will be aware that they will need to tighten up at the back considerably if they are to finally make a push to a major tournament summit after so many false dawns.

Despite topping Group G with six points and a goal difference of plus-six, there is still the slimmest of chances Belgium might yet not qualify, though even a heavy defeat in their final game against England would be extremely unlikely to derail them.

An English victory over Panama Sunday would send England and Belgium through while a draw would be enough to confirm Belgium's progress.

England have three points, with Panama and Tunisia on nought. Tunisia, also without a point after two matches having extended their 40-year World Cup winless run to 13 games, are also still in with a theoretical chance of making it on through three points - for a day at least.

"It's not easy to score that amount of goals in two games," said Martinez, as his team impressively followed up their 3-0 opening win over Panama and helped Russia 2018 set a World Cup record for 27 tournament games without a goalless draw.

"We had to suffer in spells, but when we were in full flow going forward, we look really sharp. On top, you have the talent and the quality, but since we came together, it's been a joy to see a group of players working so hard."

Martinez said Lukaku and Hazard, who were withdrawn in the second half, and midfielder Dries Mertens had slight injuries and could be among a series of changes for the England game.

  • Published in Sports

World Cup 2018: Belgium Beats Panama 3-0

teleSUR brings you live updates from Sunday's game between Belgium and Panama in the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Belgium's creativity and power proved too much for World Cupdebutants Panama as the Group G favorites overcame the heroics of goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and a massed defense to run out 3-0 winners Monday.

It took a wonderful dipping volley from Dries Mertens on the right-hand edge of the area just after halftime to break the deadlock, however, giving Penedo no chance after a first half in which he had defied Mertens, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

Hazard laid the ball off to Kevin De Bruyne who flipped a diagonal ball with the outside of his foot through for a lurking Lukaku to head home in the 69th minute.

The Manchester United striker made it 3-0 in the 75th, latching on to a through pass from Hazard and chipping over Penedo.

Belgium, unbeaten in their last 20 matches, will now be full of confidence for games against Tunisia and England.

  • Published in Sports

Euthanasia: Natacha Tells her Story

Her father François Bogaert, decided in Belgium to speed up his death, after knowing he suffered from an incurable illness.

She tells flashes of her life with a composed posture. The memories made her relive once more the final scene of her father's existence François Bogaert—a Belgian who discovered Cuba in the early 80’s —and who decided to undergo euthanasia * out of his own will after learning he suffered from a progressive supranuclear palsy, best known as PSP * *.

Much time has passed and though people say time heals all wounds of the soul, I feel his daughter Natacha can’t get rid of those painful moments when next to her kin (mother, brother, husband, sister-in-law) she said good-bye to the man who taught her to love this island of the Caribbean.

He had made his mind after knowing that —gradually, due to the illness—he would lose skills important to the human beings, such as seeing, walking, tasting, with great possibilities of suffering Alzheimer.

At first we thought he had Parkinson disease, although his hands were steady —Natacha explained—. He didn't want to go to the doctor’s, he said he was alright. In

The spring of 2014, while he was driving, the car died on him and he hit the curbs.

“He drove since he was 18 years old, he was a good driver, and that called my attention. My mother said it was his sight, but I thought it was associated to a neurological difficulty. Then we convinced him to seek professional help with a doctor.

“In May 2015 he came to Cuba; he knew it would be his last trip to the country he fell in love with. Back then I don’t think he had thought about the euthanasia, but at the airport we had to ask for a wheelchair to carry him because he could not walk well, neither move his eyes, he had to turn his head to look, and he lost balance and had frequent mood changes. He either laughed or cried a lot.”

A few months later, over a telephone call, Natacha’s mother told her of her

father's decision: he would undergo euthanasia; it was the only path to avoid so much personal and family suffering. That determination made Natacha planned a trip to Belgium accompanied by her husband and her two children.

The news—obviously—put her very sentimental. “I cried a lot, but I understood. If in the end the illness will leave him deaf, blind, unable to walk, suffering from Alzheimer, being a vegetable, why cling to life?

“He didn't want to be a burden for his family and he was aware that everything would fall on my mom’s shoulders—who also has her own share of sufferings common of her age—. He had difficulties to keep his balance, he fell frequently, and she wasn’t strong enough to help him.”

The moment arrived!

On November 2, 2015 the euthanasia became effective. Three doctors had already certified that the illness was incurable and François wrote his consent.

Then the family arranged everything. That night, before the family doctor arrived, he asked his children to turn on the television to watch his customary series, as if he could watch it the next day. Around eight o'clock the door bell rang. The time has come!

“My dad started to cry when he had the doctor in front of him, then the doctor told him: `It’s not mandatory you know, if you want you can say no`. To what he answered that he kept his intentions.

“In full capacity of his mind he organized the funeral ceremony. He said farewell to his friends and acquaintances, and he asked not to invite those who didn't give him the last good-bye.”

Only her wife, her husband and her sister-in-law stayed in the room when the doctor injected him. The family suffering had reached its top. Then came the due paperwork, the mortuary, the cremation, the toast (it’s customary in Belgium).


Natacha has lived many years in Cuba. Her children are Cuban and in this land she has found happiness and love. To her father, precisely, she owes all that. François Bogaert arrived in Cuba in the early 80’s being part of a solidarity brigade.

The two-month stay in the international camp Julio Antonio Mella, located in the municipality of Caimito, south of Havana, ever since he was fascinated by this people and its citizens.

That great love was passed to his children, therefore a few years later Natacha (with 14 years) and her baby brother (with 12) visited Cuba for the first time.

Hence the ties between her and her father are deep. Natacha always pleased him, for that reason for many years she sent him the Cuban newspaper. It was a way for him to keep the ties and stay updated on what happened here in Cuba. François died as he wanted, in his home, next to his family, after saying farewell to everyone, also his friends, and close relatives.

In the final ceremony—on his own request—three songs he loved were played. One of them, the last one, was Girón: La Victoria interpreted by the singer and songwriter Sarah González. Somehow, the Belgian had also won and had cheated death.

* The Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.

* * Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a degenerative disease involving the gradual deterioration and death of specific volumes of the brain. Males and females are affected approximately equally and there is no racial, geographical or occupational predilection. Approximately 6 people per 100,000 population have PSP. It has been described as a tauopathy.

Subscribe to this RSS feed