Guatemala City: Six religious paintings by Guatemala`s most important 18th century painter, Tomas Merlo, have been stolen from a church in the city of Antigua, culture ministry officials said Friday.
Two unidentified men overpowered the caretaker of El Calvario church in Antigua and tied him up Wednesday evening as he was closing for the day, officials said.
Joined by three accomplices, they cut from their frames six paintings that originally were part of a series of 11 dedicated by the artist to the Passion of Christ, they said.
Interpol was alerted to the theft, and UNESCO said it would try to help recover the paintings.
Merlo, 1694-1739, painted in a baroque style and is considered the best Guatemalan painter of the colonial era.