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Russian Art Heist Ends in Recovery and Arrest

Arkhip Kuindzhi painting stolen from Moscow's Tretyakov GalleryArkhip Kuindzhi painting stolen from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery
The police outside the Tretyakov Gallery building at Lavrushensky Pereulok Street; a 1890s painting by 19th-century Russian artist Arkhip Kuindzhi, "Ai-Petri, Crimea", measuring 39 by 53 centimetres, has been stolen from Tretyakov Gallery; according to Moscow police, the painting was stolen by two unknown visitors; "Ai Petri, Crimea" is from the collections of St Petersburg's Russian Museum and had been brought to Moscow for an exhibition.Mikhail Japaridze—TASS

Police have recovered a painting stolen from one of Russia’s most respected museums.

On Sunday, a man walked up to the Ai-Petri. Crimea, a painting of landscapes by artist Arkhip Kuindzhi and walked off with it in front of museum patrons, according to a report in the Associated Press. On Monday, Russian police said that they had arrested a man in connection with the heist and said that they had recovered the painting at a construction site outside of Moscow. According to the AP report, the man who police have detained said that he couldn’t remember what he was doing on Sunday, but knows that he “did not commit any crimes.”

The Ai-Petri. Crimea was on display at the Tretyakov Gallery, one of the Russia’s most popular museums. The theft came just months after a man damaged a 19th century painting at the museum, sparking fears that security at the facility should be improved.

The country’s Culture Minister said in a statement to the press on Monday that museums across the country would need to boost security at state-owned museums and would consider a plan to add motion detectors to artwork to limit theft.

According to the AP, Ai-Petri. Crimea carries an estimated value of $185,000.