The theft of the Mona Lisa

On 21 August 1911, when the Louvre was closed, Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the Louvre itself, entered the museum and stole the Mona Lisa 

In this photo above you can see the empty space left in the Louvre in the days following the theft.

1911 is the year in which the first theft of a painting from a museum in history took place.

The painting involved was not just any painting, but the "Mona Lisa" (or "Gioconda") by Leonardo da Vinci.

On 21 August 1911, when the Louvre was closed, Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the Louvre itself, and therefore well aware of the security systems, entered the museum freely and without being noticed, detached the Mona Lisa from the wall, wrapped it in his jacket and left undisturbed. Peruggia returned home by bus, in the general indifference.

Vincenzo Peruggia

The thief kept the Mona Lisa hidden for about two years during which many important people of the time were interrogated (even Pablo Picasso was investigated and then acquitted). Even Peruggia was interrogated and his modest room was subjected to an inspection that had negative results as the Mona Lisa was hidden in a special space under the only table.

After about 28 months, he tried to resell it in Italy believing it was property of the Italian Nation. The authorities, through the testimony of one of the possible buyers, arrested Peruggia and retrieved the painting. In the photo we see the empty space left in the Louvre in the days following the theft of the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa finding
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Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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