This painting of the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ by the 15th-century master Sandro Botticelli was recorded as missing back in the 1980s. The work had hung in a Neapolitan church for around 80 years before it was entrusted to a local family for safekeeping. Authorities regularly checked in to assess its condition, but at some point, these checks stopped – and an apparent administrative error meant the painting was listed as 'lost' in the culture ministry's inventory.
"The last time the authorities had inspected the private residence where the Botticelli painting was kept was over 50 years ago. Since then, inexplicably, the painting had been forgotten," said Commander Massimiliano Croce, who assisted with the recovery. In 2023, the painting was found in a poor state, having been passed down from generation to generation. It's thought the artwork will take at least a year to restore, after which it will be displayed in one of Naples' national museums. The rediscovered masterpiece has been valued at a cool €100m ($108m/£86m).