Two men will appear in court today to be sentenced for stealing a Henry Moore sculpture worth up to £500,000.
Liam Hughes, 22, and 19-year-old Jason Parker pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court last month to stealing the Sundial sculpture and its bronze plinth - and selling it on for just £46.
The Sundial, created by Moore in 1965 as a working model for a larger sculpture, was taken from the grounds of the Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham, Herts, overnight between 10 and 11 July.
The distinctive bronze artwork was found after a televised appeal for information.
The Sundial is among a string of works by the abstract artist, who died in 1986 aged 88, to be targeted by thieves in recent years.
The Henry Moore Foundation carried out a security review following the theft of the two-ton Reclining Figure in December 2005.
In 2010, Moore's £45,000 painting Three Reclining Figures On Pedestals was one of three works of art worth a combined £230,000 stolen from a gallery in Broadway, Worcestershire.
Hughes and Parker, both of Coltsfield, Stansted, Essex, will appear at St Albans Crown Court this afternoon for sentencing.
Twenty years after painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo sparked hot dispute with his enormous fresco, The Last Judgment. It depicted nudity on the chapel's alter wall and the Catholic counter-reformation critics were horrified. They deemed the work unfit for a papal chapel and after Michelangelo's death the offending genitalia were covered up. PHOTO: Artfinder
Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
Géricault's monumental The Raft of the Medusa, depicted the aftermath of a contemporary French shipwreck in which the captain had left the crew and passengers to die. The painting ignited political controversy in Paris, fuelling widespread condemnation of corrupt authorities, but Géricault went on to become a pioneer of the Romantic movement - not bad for an artist who launched his career with a sinking ship. PHOTO: Artfinder
Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Édouard Manet (1832-1883) - Édouard Manet caused a stir in the Paris Salon with his early painting The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe). Showing naked women frolicking around fully dressed companions, they appeared to hold a mirror up to the prostitution problem that was rife in Paris' parks at the time - a taboo the city was not happy to confront head on. PHOTO: Artfinder
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
When the prominent portrait painter chose the beautiful young socialite Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau as a subject, she was delighted. But when the painting was unveiled to the public under the title Portrait de Mme *** the sitter's flushed ear and provocative loose shoulder strap caused a stir: Gautreau was humiliated and her mother requested the painting be taken down. Sargent renamed the piece to the more impersonal Madame X and repainted the dress strap to make it look more securely fastened. PHOTO: Wikipaintings
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon was originally entitled The Brothel of Avignon. The women pose in primitive attitudes and the piece was deemed savage and immoral even by Picasso's supporters. Though it is now considered a revolutionary achievement, it remained rolled up in Picasso's studio for years after it was first shown. PHOTO: Wikipaintings
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Perhaps the most scandalous in Duchamp's string of provocative works was his porcelain urinal, signed 'R.Mutt' and entitled Fountain. When it was submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, it was rejected by the committee, despite the fact that the rules stated that all works would be accepted by artists who paid the fee. PHOTO: PA
Marcus Harvey (born 1963)
British artist Marcus Harvey found himself at the centre of scandal when his painting Myra was vandalised (with eggs from Fortnum & Mason) by angry members of the public when it was put on display at the Royal Academy of Art in 1997. It depicted the child murderer Myra Hindley in a portrait created completely out of the handprints of small children. The Sun said: "Myra Hindley is to be hung in the Royal Academy. Sadly it is only a painting of her". PHOTO: PA
Marc Quinn (born 1964)
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Damien Hirst (born 1965)
As Britain's richest artist, Hirst is used to being under the spotlight and is no stranger to scandal. He has been accused of plagiarism on numerous occasions and was much criticised for his use of a baby's skull in 2008 piece, For Heaven's Sake. PHOTO: Wikipaintings
David Blaine (born 1973)
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