The 5 most important robberies in art history

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There are many thefts of works of art that have occurred throughout history, some of them of well-known pieces to which an insurmountable security was supposed, but seen what was 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)

La Gioconda robos historia del arte Nomadart

Also known as The Mona Lisa, undoubtedly one of the most notorious and well-known robberies in the history of art. And while it should be one of the most complicated robberies to perpetrate, it wasn't. In this case the thief was called Vincenzo Perrugia, an artisan carpenter from Italy with few skills as a thief but certainly effective. The morning of August 21, 1911 Vincenzo entered the Louvre museum in Paris and dressed in a white coat to pose as Museum maintenance personnel. He waited until the famous work was not being viewed as usual and took down the picture and then quickly hid it under his clothes.

Happy ending? 😀

The work appeared two years later after the police were alerted by the antique dealer Alfredo Geri, who received a letter from Peruggia demanding a reward of 500 thousand pounds.

2. The Fastest Robbery in Art History: Munch's Scream (1994)

El Grito robos historia del arte Nomadart

50 seconds, a wooden ladder and a thank you note to the police that read "Thanks 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 theft that fateful February 12, 1994 since the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, with all the police officers assigned to cover the security of the event.

Happy ending? 😀

Fortunately, the work of the famous Norwegian expressionist painter was recovered three months after a hotel robbery in Aasgardstrand. Pal Enger was arrested and who did not express any remorse, on the contrary, he was amused 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 robbery in the history of art: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (1990)

Boston robos historia del arte Nomadart

Undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and important thefts in the history of art given the relevance of the authors and the number of works stolen. Total 13 works of art by artists such as Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, Vermeer and Govaert Flinck, valued at more than 300 million euros.

At dawn on March 18, 1990, two robbers disguised as police knocked on the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from 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 perpetrate their robbery. The next morning 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 even announced a reward of 9 million euros for providing clarifying clues, although shortly afterwards 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 US For its part, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum shows on its walls the empty picture frames where one day those large stolen works.

4. The heaviest robbery in the history of art: A Reclining figure by Henry Moore (2015)

A Reclaining Figure robos historia del arte Nomadart

From 3.5 meters in length and 2.1 tons in weight, A Reclining Fifure (A Reclining Figure) is the sculpture by artist Henry Moore who surprisingly managed to steal a gang of 3 thieves. 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, being even recorded by security cameras, and deploying all their maneuver 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 until today. In addition, sadly, all the tracks indicate 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.

Altar de Gante robos historia del arte Nomadart

The masterpiece of Flemish painting creation of the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. This work known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb or Altar of Ghent It is a polyptych work made up of 12 tables painted in oil on both sides. A work of the utmost importance since it marked the passage 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 historical figures of great relevance 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 (pun intended) in the church of San Juan de Gante (current cathedral of Saint Bavo)


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Nomadart Editorial
Nomadart Editorial

An article on art and culture, written from the editorial studio of Nomadart.

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