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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK

World: Europe

Painting stolen from Louvre

The painting was cut from its frame

A painting by the 19th century French artist, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, has been stolen from the Louvre in Paris.

The BBC's Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield reports
A statement said a thief cut the painting, Chemin De Sèvres, from its frame on Sunday.

The painting would be relatively easy to conceal as it measures only 34cm by 49cm.

The Louvre was immediately closed and police carried out close body searches of the hundreds of visitors and interrogated staff. They also fingerprinted the frame and glass.

[ image: Police searched all Louvre visitors in an effort to recover the painting]
Police searched all Louvre visitors in an effort to recover the painting
The painting had been in the museum's collection since 1902. Corot, known as "Papa Corot", is best known for his landscapes. The value of this one is not yet known.

He painted more than 3,000 pictures and was often imitated and faked. His work helped prepare the way for the Impressionists. He was also known for his generosity - he supported Millet's widow and gave lessons to Camille Pissarro.

[ image: The Louvre has recently been expanded]
The Louvre has recently been expanded
The Louvre, established in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and biggest museums - 5-6 million people visit every year.

The museum's authorities expressed regret for "the inconvenience caused by this theft."

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