Two Van Gogh paintings stolen 14 years ago recovered by Italian police

The paintings are said to be in "relatively good condition"

Two Van Gogh paintings stolen 14 years ago recovered by Italian police

View of the Sea at Scheveningen. Image: Van Gogh Museum via Twitter

Two stolen Van Gogh paintings have been recovered by Italian anti-mafia police in Naples.

The masterpieces - View of the Sea at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen - were painted by the Dutch artist early on in his career.

The paintings date from 1882 and 1884/5 respectively.

The recovery came amid a "massive, continuing investigation" by Italian police and prosecutors into organized crime.

The works were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on 7 December, 2002.

Speaking about the find, the museum said the canvasses had been removed from their frames, but appeared largely undamaged and were in "relatively good condition".

They said it was unlikely the paintings were 'preserved under suitable conditions', and that paint on one corner of Seascape... had broken away.

Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum, said: "After all those years you no longer dare to count on a possible return [...] The paintings have been found!

"That I would be able to ever pronounce these words is something I had no longer dared to hope for. It is not yet certain when the works will come back to Amsterdam. But I fully believe that we can, once more, count on the unconditional support of the Italian authorities."