Painting of Leonardo da Vinci – Stolen from Louvre MuseumThe well-known Mona Lisa painting of Leonardo da Vinci had been stolen on August 21, 1911 from the Louvre museum in Paris by a small time thief Vincenzo Perugia who had earlier worked in the museum. The robbery of Mona Lisa had caused quite a stir all over the world which was concluded over two years thereafter, when the priceless Mona Lisa painting had been located in the possession of Perugia.
It had been 24 hours before anyone had noticed that the painting of Mona Lisa had gone missing with artworks often been removed for the purpose of being photographed or cleaned. Charney, founder of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art – ARCA, had stated that the Louvre had more than 400 rooms though only 200 guards and even less on duty overnight. There was basically no alarm and was under-secure where most of the museums seemed to be at that point of time.
It seemed to be a mystery as to how he managed to steal the Mona Lisa painting and the purpose of committing the crime. The first mystery is how he managed to get into the museum on the day in August to gain access to the Mona Lisa painting. The police speculated that he could have hidden himself in the museum the previous night and had come out once the museum had been closed for the day.
However Perugia himself had informed that he had gained access to the museum in a much creepy manner on that particular day of the actual theft. He informed that had a white smock worn by the employees of the museum that had probably been kept from the time he had worked at the Louvre earlier and when the crew of workers for that day had entered through the employee entrance, he had joined the crowd and walked through the museum unobserved.
He had walked all around the huge building mingling with the other employees till he had entered the room where the painting of Mona Lisa hung and had waited till he had been the only person there. This event had been before any kind of modern alarm system existed so he could just take the Mona Lisa painting off its hangers and moved quickly to the nearest stairway. Thereafter he had removed the painting from its frame as claimed later by him and walked away with the Mona Lisa painting under his smock.
The Archives Nationales in Paris had questioned this and pointed out that Perugia had been too short to have hidden it under his smock while wearing it. Instead they recommended that he had taken the smock off wrapped the Mona Lisa painting in it and had walked back from the same door from which he had entered.
Stealing Artwork Entirely Patriotic
Or probably there could have been the involvement of another person. Either of these options had been successful in smuggling the painting of Mona Lisa. However this does not seem to be the only probable disagreement between the authorities concluded and what Perugia had claimed.Being a native of Dumenza, Italy, Perugia had been living in Paris during the theft of the Mona Lisa. Uncertain on what could be done with the Mona Lisa painting, he had hidden it in an old truck in his apartment trying to figure out on his next plan of action.
He seemed to get restless to get the painting out of his possession and so he travelled back to his home town and made a stop at Florence. Here he got in touch with Alfredo Geri, the owner of a nearby art gallery. Geri had been suspicious of the painting which was in possession of Perugia and so he took the opinion of another owner of a gallery who discovered that Perugia indeed had the original da Vinci painting. The two men persuaded Perugia to leave the Mona Lisa painting in their possession and Perugia was too happy to oblige. The two men had immediately contacted the police and had Perugia arrested.
Imprisoned and Released in Seven Months
Perugia later had claimed that he merely desired to return the Mona Lisa painting to its rightful country of origin and also stated that the purpose of stealing the artwork was entirely patriotic. Noah Charney, art professor had informed that Perugia had mistakenly thought that he would be considered as a hero by the Italian people.
On the contrary, he was imprisoned and the Mona Lisa painting had finally been sent back to the Louvre in 1913. There is another theory on why he finally decided to deposit the painting with Alfredo Geri, the gallery owner. It had nothing to do with the home of the Mona Lisa painting and irrespective of his statement of patriotism it had been clear that he had intentions of selling it for a huge amount of money.
Towards the end of 1911, Perugia had written to his father stating that he would be making his fortune `in one shot’. He had been released within a short sentence period of seven months since the authorities were unclear on what to do with a culprit of this kind of crime. Perugia had fought for Italy during the First World War and eventually went back to France, married and had a daughter.
Mona Lisa – Great Masterpiece
On October8, 1925 in a suburb near Paris he had breathed his last. Since he had then reverted back to his birth name of Pietro Peruggia, very few linked his name to the infamous robbery of the Mona Lisa painting. The painting became very popular after it had been returned and it grew till he became possibly the most well-known piece of art in the world.
Charney has informed that this could not have occurred if a different painting had been stolen. The image of Mona Lisa had been plastered in newspapers as well as in magazines all across the world. Carney acclaims that the world-wide attention was drawn, familiarizing the image of the lady with the mystic smile.
So Perugia in some way had been responsible for the present amazing fame of the Mona Lisa painting. No one may ever know the precise motivation of Perugia for the theft of the well-known painting of Mona Lisa. Times have changed and the Mona Lisa tends to hang behind a bullet-proof glass in a space of the Louvre with security guards monitoring the Mona Lisa painting all the time in order to avert another theft of this great masterpiece which only a Renaissance genius could have created.