The 4 Greatest robberies of Art in History

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Some have been stolen more than once, some have not been found, and others have been recovered in record time. Each theft has its story

The 4 Greatest Thefts of Art in History

Leer en español: Los 4 robos de arte más grandes de la historia

Many of the most famous works in the world have been stolen, some even more than once, fortunately all returned to their original museum and, thanks to this, enjoyed by their viewers. Then we tell you the incredible story of cops and thieves of some of these works.

Read also: Cultural agenda: The tours and exhibitions that you cannot miss

1. Leonardo da Vinci's Gioconda

Yes, the famous Mona Lisa, perhaps the most important pictorial work in the world, was stolen from the Louvre Museum on August 21, 1911, as claimed by the BBC News. The theft occurred on a Monday in which the museum facilities were closed, so they only noticed the absence of the Mona Lisa until Tuesday. The robbery was carried out by Vincenzo Peruggia who, they say, was an Italian carpenter who had previously worked at the museum. The theft meant that La Gioconda received everyone's attention and that it was catapulted to fame, even if the museum had important works such as La Libertad Guiding the Town of Delacroix or the Venus de Milo.


Una publicación compartida de I Tesori di Firenze (@tesoridifirenze) el

2. The Scream of Edvard Munch

On February 12, 1994, a thief broke into the National Gallery in Oslo, cut the cable that held the painting after climbing to the Munch room and removed the work with complete peace of mind. This was the first theft of the work; it was carried out by Pål Enger who, to top it off, left a note thanking the lack of vigilance and security. Three months later the painting was recovered in a hotel south of Oslo, and his thief was arrested. But this was not the only attempt at theft. In 2004, in broad daylight and armed with handguns, they entered the Munch Museum in Oslo and stole "El Grito" and a "Madonna." Fortunately, these works were recovered two years later, thanks to the collaboration of one of the thieves.


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3. Vase with Viscaria by Vincent van Gogh

This painting by the famous Dutch painter valued at close to fifty-five thousand dollars was stolen twice from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Palace Museum in Cairo. The first time it was taken was in 1977 and the second in 2010. In 2011, the Reuters website in Spain reported that five were responsible for the theft, among which was a former director of the state department of fine arts. These were sent to prison by an Egyptian court, but unfortunately, the whereabouts of the work is unknown, as it has not been recovered.


Una publicación compartida de Anna McKenna (@tomorrowzanotherday) el


4. Portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Francisco de Goya

The Spanish painter Francisco de Goya painted between 1812 and 1814 three portraits of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. In 1961 the oldest was auctioned where they were, where Wellington was seen in a red uniform, this same painting was exhibited at the National Gallery in London where it was also stolen. The theft, according to El País, was the first in the history of the famous museum and it was believed that it was carried out by Kempton Bunton, a 61-year-old man who worked as a taxi driver. Later it was discovered that the culprit would have been his son John Bunton who climbed one of the walls with a rope left by some masons. Bunton Jr. confessed to the crime after his father had already paid three months in prison.


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LatinAmerican Post | Ana María Aray Mariño

Translated from "Los 4 robos de arte más grandes de la historia"


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