Mystery ‘Picasso masterpiece worth MILLIONS’ discovered during Iraq drug raid

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A MYSTERY Pablo Picasso masterpiece said to be worth millions of pounds has reportedly been discovered during a drugs raid in Iraq.

The stolen artwork was found on Saturday in the possession of three people in the Diyala province as they were arrested for their alleged involvement in the trade and transport of narcotics, authorities say.

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Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was arguably the most famous artist of the 20th centuryCredit: AFP

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The painting was allegedly discovered during a drugs raid in the Diyala province of IraqCredit: Google

According to the state run Iraiqi News Agency, the painting allegedly belonging to the Spanish painter was seized in their possession.

Colonel Bilal Sobhi, director of the anti-narcotics media office, said: “A painting belonging to the international painter Picasso was seized in their possession, estimated at millions of dollars.”

He added: “The drug trade is linked to many crimes, including murder, theft, kidnapping, rape, gang formation, corruption and family disintegration, until it reaches the antiquities trade.”

The raid, in which the painting was discovered, was part of the Iraqi ministry’s ongoing security operations.

Sobhi claims they have arrested 1,300 suspects and seized “44kg of narcotic substances” since the operation began in July.

Images of the artwork and details of its condition have not been disclosed.

According to the National, the painting has yet to be authenticated.

Picasso, who died in 1973, is thought to have made roughly 50,000 artworks during his lifetime.

He also created hundreds of sculptures and ceramics and about 34,000 illustrations.

Last year, his Head of Woman was among his works to have been discovered nine years after it was stolen in an audacious heist by a builder.

It was recovered in Keratea, a rural area some 45km (28 miles) southeast of Athens, Greece, after officials were led by the accused to the forest.

Footage later handed out by cops from the hiding site showed one of the paintings sealed in a package under bushes.

Greek officials confirmed that it had recovered the Picasso painting that was personally donated by the Spanish master to the Greek people.

The artist had given the cubist painting to the Greek state in recognition of the country’s resistance to Nazi Germany during a painful 1941-44 occupation.

Picasso, originally from Malaga, Spain, was arguably the most famous artist of the 20th century.

The artist would typically scribble something in pencil before painting directly over it and incorporating the previous work into the new one.

In May, a portrait of Picasso’s lover and mother of one of his children, titled “Femme nue couchée” (Naked woman reclining), sold at auction for £55.8 million.

Who was Pablo Picasso?

Arguably the most famous artist of the 20th century, Picasso was born in Spain, at Málaga, and received encouragement from his father, who was an artist and teacher, writes the National Gallery.

After a period in Barcelona he moved to Paris in 1904.

The early paintings of his so-called blue period changed to paintings in tones of pink and grey.

He experimented with everything from newsprint and napkins to decorative wallpaper, says the Royal Academy.

Picasso spent decades investigating printmaking techniques, sourcing rare and antique paper from as far as Japan – and all without losing his compulsion to draw on every last scrap.

Picasso, who is thought to have made roughly 50,000 artworks during his lifetime, was known to reuse canvases by painting over previous drawings.

The artist would typically scribble something in pencil before painting directly over it and incorporating the previous work into the new one.

Doodles hidden under Picasso masterpieces have been discovered.

In 2014, experts found a portrait of a mysterious man behind his painting of a bathing woman in The Blue Room.

Hidden sketches of landscapes penned by another artist have been found under Picasso’s painting La Miséreuse Accroupie (otherwise known as The Crouching Beggar).

Classical art became an increasingly important influence on Picasso’s art following a visit to Rome in 1917.

After years of poverty as a young artist in Barcelona, he had moved to Paris at the turn of the twentieth century and, by the early 1930s, was both celebrated and wealthy.

His later years – spent mainly in the south of France – saw him produce paintings and graphic art, sculpture and pottery.

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