Surely you think the Mona Lisa must be the most closely watched work of art in the world? Well that hasn’t always been the case. Indeed, the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and was not found until two years later.

a thief not found

What astonishment reigned on August 22, 1911 when the staff of the Louvre Museum discovered an empty frame in place of the famous Mona Lisa! A thief had managed to escape the vigilance of the guards and cut up and then take Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece under his cloak.

mona lisa
Mona Lisa

A two-year disappearance

Determined to recover the work, the president of the Friends of the Louvre, Raymond Koechlin had an idea: he offered to buy the Mona Lisa from the thief in exchange for the sum of 25,000 Francs. Unfortunately, time goes by and no one shows up … Two years go by without any trace of the Mona Lisa…. Finally, in 1913, an antique dealer in the city of Florence said he knew where the thief was. He offers to return it for 25,000 Francs. And so the Mona Lisa is found, the antiquarian paid, and the thief, Vincenzo Perrugia is arrested. It was later discovered that the most famous painting in the world had been hidden for 2 years in a box under a bed!

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