Representatives of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said that the paintings had been stolen from their frames but apparently suffered only minimal damage. It is not yet clear when they would return to the museum that contains most works of Van Gogh's work.
Paintings "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen / Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen" (1884/5) and "View of the Sea at Scheveningen / Scheveningen Marine Landscape" (1882), part of the early career was short and tumultuous Dutch painter.
Italian tax authorities seized "goods worth tens of millions of euros from the Camorra mafia group involved in international traffic of cocaine," according to a release. Officials said that among property include paintings "invaluable".
"It is safe," according to Van Gogh Museum director Axel Rueger. "I Do not dare to hope that I could say this after so many years."
|Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen photo: wikiart.org|
During the 2002 robbery, the thieves used a ladder to climb on the roof of the museum and broke into clăduire, escaping with a rope.
Two men were later caught and convicted of theft because of DNA evidence demonstrating their connection with the robbery. The two were sentenced to four years in prison and 4 years and six months, but the paintings had not been recovered.
The picture with the Scheveningen is one of two scenes marine painted by Van Gogh in Holland, "and an important example of the style of painting of Van Gogh from his early career, paintings that was already noted the unique style of its" according to the museum.
Representatives of the museum said that a patch of paint in the left corner of the painting was damaged.
The picture with the church in Nuenen where his father was a priest Van Gogh was painted for his mother and father after the death of the painter completed in 1885. It looks intact, but further investigations are needed to determine the precise condition of both paintings and their need to be restored, museum representatives have said.