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Paintings of the three wise men created by Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens for his childhood friend Balthasar Moretus have been reunited for the first time in 130 years at the National Gallery of Art.

And while biblical in theme, the pictures offer a glimpse into a friendship fostered 400 years ago.

Rubens painted the portraits around 1618 for his friend, who was head of the Plantin Press, the largest publishing house in 16th- and 17th- century Europe. The paintings were together for almost 300 years, until they were sold at a Paris auction in 1881.

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Works damaged in two devastating fires in 1945 that destroyed around 400 paintings and sculptures stored in Berlin’s Friedrichshain bunker, including pieces by Caravaggio, Rubens and Donatello, are being presented in a new exhibition at the Bode Museum. “The Missing Museum: the Berlin Sculpture and Paintings Collections 70 Years after World War II”, which opened March 19, explores ethical and practical decisions museums face in regards to war-damaged works, namely whether they should be restored or left in their ruined state as a permanent reminder of the horrors of the conflict.

“One of the exhibition’s objectives is to bring these works back from oblivion into people’s consciousness,” says Julien Chapuis, the museum’s deputy director and curator of the show, adding that many of the pieces have not been exhibited since 1939.

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Géza von Habsburg, an art historian in suburban New York, would have inherited part of an Austrian empire if only his ancestors had not made some terrible life choices. He did inherit the title of archduke and an interest in the history of luxury goods — the kind his family commissioned for centuries. Recently, he watched as about 100 of his family’s former heirlooms were installed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts here for a new exhibition, “The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty,” that runs through May.

It is the most comprehensive display yet staged for the collections from these Holy Roman Emperors, who owned palaces from Ukraine to Mexico. Gowns, rifles, suits of armor, sorbet cups, gilded knickknacks and artworks by luminaries like Rubens, Titian, Velazquez, Tintoretto and Holbein have come from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

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During the French Revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, French troops took Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens’ (1577-1640) The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus from the Tournai cathedral in Belgium. The work was whisked away to Paris and in 1801 it was sent to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, France.

The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus is one half of a diptych that was commissioned for the cathedral by the bishop of Tournai in 1635. Napoleon’s army stole both The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus and its accompanying work, The Freeing of the Souls from Purgatory, which was returned to the cathedral in 1818.

Tournai officials are adamant about having the Rubens painting returned to the cathedral. Ruby Demotte, president of the French Community of Belgium, has penned a letter to French president Francois Hollande as well as to the French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti asking that the work be sent back to Belgium. Demotte made the same attempt last year but never received a response from the French government.

Tournai recently completed a major renovation of its cathedral and are hoping to finally reunite the two Rubens paintings.

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Taking over two galleries at New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum, Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich, spans the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. The show includes rarely seem works by old masters such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Raphael, and Rubens as well as nineteenth century sheets by van Gogh and contemporary works by Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, and Georg Baselitz. The drawings, which are on loan from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, have never before been on view in the United States.

Comprised of a complex of buildings on Madison Avenue, the Morgan began as the private library of the financier Pierpont Morgan. In 1924, eleven years after Pierpont’s death his son, J.P. Morgan, Jr., turned the library into a public institution.

100 Masters will be on view through January 6, 2013.

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