NICOSIA — Cyprus police say thieves broke into the home of an art collector and took a painting by famed Impressionist Edgar Degas worth millions.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said the 70-year-old collector vouched for the authenticity of the 19th Century painting depicting a ballerina whose estimated value is 6 million euros ($7.55 million).
Angelides said two Greek Cypriots have been arrested in connection with the case. A Russian national who had expressed interest in buying other paintings from the collector is also being sought.
A small safe containing 157,000 euros ($198,000) worth of gold watches, glasses and cuff links was also reported stolen.
The painting was not insured, a police spokeswoman told AFP.
Art theft is rare in Cyprus and this is believed to be one of the most valuable paintings ever stolen on the Mediterranean island.
The thieves also made off with other items –- seven gold watches and three gold opera glasses –- worth a total of 157,000 euros ($200,000).
Degas (1834–1917) is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism. The French artist is famous for his paintings, sculptures and drawings, more than half of which depict dancers.
The 61×47 centimeter (24 x 18.5 inch) painting that the thieves stole is one of a number of studies that Degas made between 1873 and 1874 of dancers adjusting their shoes, shown in different poses and from different angles.