Today 102 years ago, on 21 August 1911, the “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre.
The story goes that the thief, Italian carpenter and Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia, was a patriot who believed the Mona Lisa should be returned to Italy. He simply entered the building during regular hours, hid in a broom closet and walked boldly out with the painting hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. Completely clueless, the police even arrested the artist Pablo Picasso and the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire for questioning. The painting remained in Peruggia´s Parisian apartment for two years before he dared to try and sell it to an art dealer in Florence, who informed the police. Following its recovery, the painting was on display throughout Italy and was finally returned to the Louvre in 1913. In the first two days after it was rehung in the Salon Carré, more than 100,000 people viewed it. Today, eight million people see the Mona Lisa every year. Peruggia served six months in prison for what has been called the greatest art heist in history.
Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa?