Unknown Facts

The Theft That Made The ‘Mona Lisa’ A World Famous Masterpiece

Do you know why Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ caught the attention of the public and became one of the best paintings in the World?

Definitely, it’s a masterpiece but do you know who made it popular? You will be surprised to know the fact, we will let you know today.

We must thank a “thief”, because he is the one who made the painting world-famous, yes it’s true…

On August 21, 1911, the painting was stolen by an Italian immigrant, Vincenzo Peruggia, who worked temporarily at the Louvre Museum. He was ordered to make a glass frame for Mona Lisa Painting.

When the work was finished, he went back to the gallery and, somehow, managed to hide in a closet and stayed all night.

Early in the morning, he saw the opportunity to escape and left the gallery without anyone noticing and he rolled up the Mona Lisa painting under his coat.

Until one day, nobody noticed the theft because the gallery workers thought that the painting was under restoration, but a painter arrived the next day to make a sketch of Mona Lisa and could not find it.

It was not a famous painting at that time and it was not yet fixed on the wall. The theft created a media sensation by offering the painting in a letter to art dealer Alfredo Geri for $ 5,000,000, but this was denied.

Mona Lisa on display in the Uffizi Gallery and “La Joconde est Retrouvée” (Mona Lisa Found), Le Petit Parisien, Numéro 13559, 13 December 1913. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Mona Lisa’s painting was published in almost every newspaper on the front page and that was enough to get the attention of the public.

People started coming to the museum to see the empty space on the wall. From then on, the painting became popular.

The famous painters Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire were also suspects. The real thief Vincenzo Peruggia disappeared and the painting of Mona Lisa was forgotten until 1913.

That same year, an art dealer from Florence, Alfredo Geri, received a strange letter. The author offered to buy the stolen work of Leonardo da Vinci, they both met in Florence.

The thief Peruggia agreed to deliver the painting for authentication and it has been proved that it was a real painting of Mona Lisa. For two years, he kept the painting on his kitchen table in Paris and he was finally arrested.

In the court hall, he said he fell in love with Mona Lisa. Peruggia was sure that Napoleon had stolen the painting from Italy and wanted to return to his homeland, but that was not true, he may be given these reasons to escape from the case we don’t know.

Leonardo spent his last years in France and he sold Mona Lisa to the French king Francois I.

The lawyer had made Peruggia a more patriotic than a thief, and the court had sentenced him for only 1 year and 15 days.

Finally, the Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre Museum and Leonardo da Vinci become a symbol of the gallery, and today, it is well protected.

Also read: What is the difference between British English and US English?

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