Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Spanish museum returns two paintings looted by Nazis to Poland

Two people take down the diptych of Ecce Homo (Gustavo de la Paz/Europa Press/AP)
Two people take down the diptych of Ecce Homo (Gustavo de la Paz/Europa Press/AP)

A museum in north-west Spain has returned two 15th-century paintings to Polish officials after it was determined they were looted by Nazi German forces during the Second World War.

The paintings, Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows) and Ecce Homo, were handed over to a delegation from Poland’s culture ministry on Wednesday.

According to Spain’s Museum of Pontevedra, the works were originally believed to be by Dieric Bouts, a Flemish master born in the Dutch town of Haarlem, but now they are attributed to a member of his school or group.

In 2020, Polish officials made it aware the works had been looted by the Nazis, the museum said.

The museum quickly decided to send them back to Poland, but the completion of official permits for the transfer delayed it until now.

Nazi forces stole the works from the Czartoryski collection in Goluchow when the city was occupied by the German military in the Second World War, Polish officials said.

They appeared in Madrid in 1973 and had been in the Pontevedra museum since 1994, when they were acquired among more than 300 works bought from a Spanish private collector.

Poland saw much of its cultural patrimony destroyed or looted during the country’s wartime occupation by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and about 500,000 items remain missing.

The country has been making efforts to recover as much as possible.

The Culture Ministry has a division for looted art which keeps a database of missing objects and scours foreign collections and auctions.

When they find a looted Polish painting, book or other object, they inform police in the country.