There are many thefts of works of art that have occurred throughout history, some of them involving well-known pieces that were supposed to be insurmountable, but from what has been seen, it was not. Today we bring you the 5 most important robberies in the History of Art... with a happy ending?
1. The easiest robbery in the history of art: Da Vinci's Mona Lisa (1911)
Also known as La Mona Lisa, undoubtedly one of the most notorious and well-known robberies in the history of art. And although it should be one of the most complicated robberies to perpetrate, it was not. In this case the thief was called Vincenzo Perrugia , a craftsman carpenter from Italy with few skills as a thief but certainly effective. On the morning of August 21, 1911, Vincenzo entered the Louvre Museum in Paris and dressed in a white coat to pose as maintenance personnel for the Museum. He waited until the famous work was not being contemplated as usual and took the painting down to quickly hide it under his clothes.
Happy ending? 😀
The work appeared two years later after the police were alerted by the antiques dealer Alfredo Geri, who received a letter from Peruggia demanding a reward of 500,000 pounds.
2. The fastest robbery in the history of art: Munch's Scream (1994)
50 seconds, a wooden ladder and a thank you note to the police that read "Thank you for the poor security." That was what was enough for the famous thief Pal Enger and his accomplice to enter the Munch Room of the National Gallery in Oslo at dawn on February 12 and steal the famous painting. A robbery that after time Pal Enger recognized that he had prepared for 4 years, setting the ideal date to perpetrate his robbery that fateful February 12, 1994 since the Winter Olympic Games were inaugurated in Lillehammer , with all the troops of the police stationed to cover the security of the event.
Happy ending? 😀
Luckily the work of the famous Norwegian expressionist painter was recovered three months after the robbery at a hotel in Aasgardstrand. Pal Enger was arrested and he did not express any remorse, on the contrary, he amused himself by recounting that he had hidden the work between the boards of the table where his family ate and drank coffee.
3. The Most Expensive Theft in Art History: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston (1990)
Undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and important robberies in the history of art given the relevance of the authors and the number of works stolen. In total 13 works of art by artists such as Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, Vermeer and Govaert Flinck, valued at more than 300 million euros .
In the early morning of March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police knocked on the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where they surprised a young security guard and convinced him that they had been alerted to suspicious noises inside the Museum. . Once inside and armed, they had all the time in the world to carry out their robbery. The next morning the police found the two museum security guards gagged in the basement.
Happy ending? ☹️
Unfortunately nothing is known about the whereabouts of these 13 works. The federal authorities came to announce a reward of 9 million euros for providing explanatory clues, although shortly after they were withdrawn due to the scarcity of contributions. To this day, the FBI is still investigating without any clue the case of theft against the most important property in the United States. For its part, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum shows on its walls the frames of the empty paintings where one day those great stolen works.
4. The heaviest robbery in the history of art: A Reclining figure by Henry Moore (2015)
Measuring 3.5 meters in length and weighing 2.1 tons , A Reclining Fifure (A reclining figure) is the sculpture by artist Henry Moore that a gang of 3 thieves surprisingly managed to steal. How did they do it? Simple, with a crane and a truck.
This work by the British artist is made of bronze and valued at more than 4.5 million euros . Located in one of the gardens of the artist's Foundation, the thieves did not hesitate to enter the premises at dawn, even being recorded by the security cameras, and deploy all their maneuvers to get hold of this precious work. Police sources indicate that the motive for the crime could have been caused solely by the value of the bronze.
Happy ending? ☹️
Although a succulent reward was offered from the artist's Foundation, there was no response to this day. Also, sadly, all the clues point to the fact that the thieves decided to sell it to a foundry shortly after stealing it.
5. The most repeated robbery in the history of art: the Ghent polyptych.
The masterpiece of Flemish painting created by the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck . This work known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb or Ghent Altar is a polyptic work made up of 12 tables painted in oil on both sides. A work of the utmost importance since it marked the transition from medieval forms to the modern Nordic Renaissance. But this is not its only merit, it could even be said that it is even more famous for being the most stolen work in history, stolen up to 13 times and longed for by highly relevant historical figures such as Napoleon or Adolf Hitler , among others.
Happy ending? 😀
Despite having been spoils of war 3 times, mutilated, lost, falsified and stolen on numerous occasions throughout history, this work rests in peace (never better said) in the church of San Juan de Gante (current cathedral of Saint Bavo)