Treasures from Sunken Frau Maria to be Salvaged
The schooner Frau Maria that sank near Finland in 1771 when transporting treasures for the Hermitage Museum will be raised to the surface in 2010.
The hold of the ship lying at the depth of 41 meters contains paintings by Dutch artists, as well as chinaware and decorative art items of bronze and precious metals, all purchased at an auction in Amsterdam for Catherine the Great. When studying some archives experts discovered papers concerning the auction, where the paintings had been bought.
Thus, they learnt that onboard the ship there are works by Hendrick Van Balen, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Van Goen, and Gabriel Metsu, as well as a painting by Gerard Dou, a disciple of Rembrandt.
The experts hope that the paintings had been packed not into boxes, but into leaden containers and coated with wax, and so the canvasses might be rather well preserved.
Russia and Finland have been negotiating about the raising of the ship since the beginning of 2008. The issue of ownership of the treasures has not been settled so far.
See related story here.