US judge: Baroque artwork to return to man's heirs

GARY FINEOUT Associated Press Published:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A U.S. judge has ordered the return of a 16th century Italian painting to the heirs of a Jewish man who owned the Baroque work before World War II.

U.S. Judge Robert Hinkle filed the order Monday for the return of "Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue" to the descendants of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe. U.S. authorities seized the painting in November from a Florida museum that had been lent the work for exhibition by the famed Pinacoteca di Brera museum in Milan, Italy.

Girolamo Romano's painting was bought by di Giuseppe in 1914 in Paris. He died in 1940 before the Nazis occupied France and members of his family who fled the German occupation have said its sale by the French Vichy government in 1941 was illegal.