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France

Belgium demands return of Rubens seized during French Revolution

media The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus, by Rubens DR

Belgium on Wednesday demanded the return of an oil painting by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, stolen more than 200 years ago during the French Revolution and currently in the hands of a French museum.

French-speaking parliamentarians adopted a resolution urging their government "to undertake all useful steps to negotiate with France the restitution to the Tournai cathedral of Rubens' work 'The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus'".

The oil on canvas was created in 1635 for the bishop of Tournai, a town in western Belgium, and paid for with funds raised by local residents.

Along with another Rubens work it was seized and sent to France in 1794 by French troops occupying what is now Belgium.

Napoleon Bonaparte sent it to the western city of Nantes in 1801 and it is still held by the municipal museum there.

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