An artwork by Melbourne-based artist and iconographer Lisa Ghent was stolen from Australian Catholic University Art Space in Fitzroy, Melbourne, on Thursday, 17 January.
The painting was a study made of the famous Hans Memling icon – Man of Sorrows in the Arms of the Virgin – housed at the National Gallery of Victoria. The study took Lisa over 12 months to compete, and was painted in the medium of egg tempera, typical in icon paintings.
Visions of Beauty is the current exhibition that opened on 14 January at the Australian University Art Space at Brunswick street Fitzroy. It is a collaboration of egg tempera works by some of Australia and Russian’s Master iconographers and their students.
Lisa’s work was stolen in broad daylight, with police narrowing the time of the incident to be between 1.30 and 3pm.
'In the 13 years I have worked in our gallery and studio spaces, we have not suffered a loss of any other artworks,'said Christine Small, Visual Arts Technician at the ACU.
Anna Prifti, Director of the Byzantine School of Iconography in Camberwell, which Lisa is a student of, was shocked to learn of this while on holiday.
'I have seen this work from its beginning to end. Lisa has worked tirelessly and meticulously to complete it. We all hope for its safe return ,' said Ms Prifti.
Lisa Ghent is pleading with the thief for its safe return. 'I’m not interested in pressing charges or asking questions. It is a very fragile painting.'
An investigation has been launched and people who may have any information are urged to contact Fitzroy Police Station on (03) 9934 6400.The exhibition will continue until 2 February at ACU Art Space, 26 Brunswick Street Fitzroy.