The high-stakes race to stop the trafficking of priceless artefacts
In December 2016, David Hidalgo received a photograph of a 17th-century Peruvian painting. The unsigned artwork, of the Virgen de Guadalupe, depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by apparitions and tells the story of her appearance to Saint Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531. Hidalgo’s tip-off came via email from a source who had seen the painting on show at the Bowers Museum in California, where it was on loan. Hidalgo’s source suspected that the painting had been stolen.