It was called the biggest art heist in history, in 1911- An employee of
the museum left with the Mona Lisa hidden under his house painters smock.
Vincenzo Peruggia noticing a large number of Italian paintings in the
French national collection, assumed they were stolen by Napoleon. He wanted
to pilfer the Mona Lisa and return to Italy because he thought it was
the most beautiful. It was not returned until 1913 when he attempted to
sell it to a collector.
the morning of August 21st, 1911, a workman, Vincenzo Peruggia found himself
alone in the Salon Carre at the Louvre. He left unnoticed with the Mona
Lisa under his house painter smock.
de Valfierno, an Argentine con man put Peruggia up to stealing the
painting. He hired an art forger who made six copies of the stolen
painting and sold it to unscrupulous collectors who thought they were
getting the real thing. The deal made the equivalent of 67 million
today for him. Peruggia kept it stored in the false bottom of a trunk
until he naively offered it for sale to a Florence art dealer and
was caught. (Quoted from: Joseph Harris, Smithsonian, May 1999)
30th, 1956, a Bolivian named Ugo Ungaza Villegas, stared at the Mona Lisa
for awhile, then threw a rock at it, damaging a speck of pigment near
her left elbow.
is now protected by a formidable railing, bulletproof glass and will have
her own room at the Louvre.