Painting, stolen by Nazi soldier, is back in Florence museum

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Painting, stolen by Nazi soldier, is back in Florence museum
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, left, and Italian Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli watch the unveiling of the "Vase of Flowers" painting by Jan van Huysum, at the Pitti Palace, part of the Uffizi Galleries, in Florence, Italy, Friday, July 19, 2019. Germany returned the Dutch still-life after it was stolen by Nazi troops during WWII. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — A Dutch still-life painting, stolen by a retreating Nazi soldier as a present for his wife, has been returned by Germany to a Florence museum.

The foreign ministers of German and Italy were on hand Friday in the Palazzo Pitti, a Renaissance palace that is part of the Uffizi Galleries, for the unveiling from behind crimson drapes of “Flower Vase,” a masterpiece by Jan van Huysum, famed for his exquisitely detailed paintings depicting flowers.

Uffizi director German Eike Schmidt earlier this year urged his native country to return the work, at one point publishing images of the painting with the label “wanted” to dramatize his appeal.

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero hailed the “civic and moral courage of a German director of an Italian museum” in pursuing the painting’s return.