Mona lisa stolen: Is the Mona Lisa in the Louvre a fake? 

Picasso was also a suspect in stealing paintings! The real murderer became a patriotic hero for one reason

“Mona Lisa” is a representative painting created by Italian Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci. It is now displayed in the Louvre Museum in France. Thousands of tourists visit it every year. In order to take a look at it from a distance, but did you know that the Mona Lisa was stolen for 2 years in the 20th century, and even the famous painter Picasso was listed as a suspect? The book “Lost Famous Paintings: Secrets of World Treasures in the History of Art That Have Experienced Ordeals or are Missing” will take readers to carefully explore the truth of this incident, and may give you a new understanding and perspective on this world-famous painting.

mona lisa stolen

Make the whole nation crazy! Workers in the building who walked in and out on weekdays stole paintings in the dark

Mona lisa stolen

Three years after the end of World War I, on August 20, 1991, a young man in a hay hat came to the Louvre, France, named Vincenzo Peruggia, living in the east of Paris. The Italian, who made a living as a painter, stole the painting “Mona Lisa”. During the three months between November 1999 and January 2010, Louvre carried out a glass enclosure on the perimeter of important paintings to prevent people from cutting the work with blades. Perugia was one of the construction workers who had several weeks to freely enter the building. Find information about the location of the exhibits, the entrance and the security guard’s duty schedule.

On August 20, he mingled with the rest of the visitors, entered the building without incident, and hid in the warehouse as planned and stayed overnight in the warehouse until it closed. The next day, August 21, is the closing day of the Louvre Palace, and Perugia, avoiding the view of the construction workers, comes out of the warehouse and invades the salon carre of Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa at the time is on public display only on a hanger. The painting measures 77 x 53 cm. It is a panel oil painting and is not particularly difficult to transport. Perugia took down Mona Lisa and removed the frame and glass cover, hiding the painting in a work coat prepared in advance, posing as a museum attendant to the atrium.

While the building was being cleaned, the guards did not look closely at the entrance, and Perugia passed in front of the guards and walked out of the museum. Unbeknownst to God, Mona Lisa was successfully brought back to her apartment.

One day later, someone discovers that Mona Lisa has been stolen. On the twenty-second day of the incident, many people came to visit, but no one saw Mona Lisa, and finally the theft was discovered by Louis Bello, a painter who frequented the Louvre. Belo came to the museum on this day and wanted to see the paintings of Mona Lisa, but he saw that between Antonio da Correggio’s The Mysterious Marriage of Saint Catherine and the Apostle of Saint Basil and Titian’s The Prophecy of Alfonso, only the red walls remained with four Nails that fix the painting at the root.

As usual, the museum staff would often remove the collection and send photographs to the camera room, so visitors on the day felt that Mona Lisa had only been removed temporarily. But Belo waited half a day and did not see Mona Lisa being returned to its original place, and waited impatiently for him to ask the captain of the guard, only to find that no museum staff had applied to remove Mona Lisa that day.

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The museum finally realized that the situation was serious, and the public was asked to leave the building immediately and report to the Paris General Police Department, which included sixty officers from the general police, who conducted a carpet search along the Louvre’s exhibits to the rooftops and others, but they still could not find Mona Lisa. Police also put up strict searches at stations, ports, etc., and France temporarily closed the border, and the Louvre Palace was closed for a week to help with the search.

Apollinaire and Picasso are also suspects

The news of the theft of the Mona Lisa shocked the whole of France, and since the Louvre Palace is the pride of the French people, the incident also seriously damaged the prestige of the country. The news media extensively covered the possible features of the work with suspects and harshly criticized the museum’s lax security system. During the closing days, the Louvre Palace will have only ten to twelve guards, and a few will be sent to help clean or replace the display, unable to keep a close eye on the work and the entrance.

Both Louvre staff and outsourced construction workers were listed as subjects of investigation, but the case has not progressed. In the city of Paris, some members of the public were investigated by police for carrying luggage that was close to the size of the Mona Lisa, and police also named many suspects. Including high crime bounty bonuses, even super-powered people to predict the identity of criminals, etc. Although there are many rumors, there is no clear progress in the search process.

The theft of the Mona Lisa continues to be hotly debated, and the Travelogue newspaper published an ad offering a reward of 50,000 francs by handing the Mona Lisa back to the press. The newspaper later received a strange letter, which read: “I want to return the statue I stole from the Louvre in 1997.” The sender claims he stole three pieces of art from the Louvre and sold two of them to the painter. Travelogue published a physical photograph of the statue, which Louvre researchers saw and confirmed by photo identification to be a Guiberian Peninsula statue in the Louvre’s collection.

Under police investigation, the statue was stolen by a Belgian, Gerry Pierrette, who served as secretary to the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Pierrette said that he had stolen the statue and handed it over to the Apostle, and the Paris General Police Department named Apollinaire as the messenger and arrested him.

In addition, the police suspect Apollinaire of being the perpetrator of the Mona Lisa case, since it was possible to steal the statue from the Guibilli Peninsula, it was not surprising to steal the Mona Lisa.

mona lisa stolen

Mona lisa stolen: Guime Apollinaire was an Italian-born poet, art critic, and one of the pioneers of Surrealism. He was arrested for possessing property, and then lived in seclusion abroad, living a life of isolation from the world, and later planned to become a French national.

mona lisa stolen

Mona lisa stolen: For Picasso’s photos in 1908, he approached Apollinaire to discuss the plan to throw the statue into the Seine River, but in the end he sent the statue to the “Journey Diary” newspaper office.

In addition, Pierrette sold two statues to Picasso, and because Picasso had a private affair with Apollinaire, Picasso was brought back to the police. Picasso and Apollinaire both claimed they did not know the statues were stolen, but the police thought they should have known, but they did not find any evidence pointing to the suspect stealing Monalisa Lisa, and were unable to find their connection to the case, and ultimately failed to file charges and dropped the charges.

The Guiberian Peninsula statues also inspired Picasso’s work, whose famous work, Avignon’s The Girl, is considered one of the origins of Cubism. The female face in the painting is the prototype of the Guiberian Peninsula statue sold by Piret.

As for the deadly Perugia who stole the Mona Lisa, what are the moves in the midst of a social disaster? Unbeknownst to him, between the two years he stole the Mona Lisa, he would hide his paintings perfectly in an apartment in Paris.

Newsletters from Florentine Painters

On November 29, 2013, a Florentine painter named Alfredo Gelli received a letter from Leonardo’s husband, saying: “The Mona Lisa, stolen by the Louvre, is in my hands, and I wish to return the Italian masterpiece to Italy.” Although Jerry doubted the authenticity of the letter, he responded by saying he hoped to meet with Leonardo. This Leonardo was, in fact, the Perugia who stole the Mona Lisa, who traveled from Paris to Dumenza, Italy, through Florence, and stayed there for a short time.

On the evening of December 10, Perugia came to Jerry’s shop, packed a ticket saying that the painting he had brought was a real work of Mona Lisa, and asked Jerry for 50,000 liras (about the equivalent of 5,000 yen today) as a fee to return the painting to Italy.

The next day, Jerry finds Giovanni Poggi, a friend who works as the curator of the Uffizi Gallery and travels to a guest house in Pelugia to confirm that the painting is fake. Perugia took out a wooden box from the bottom of the bed removed her work clothes and painting tools, and finally came up with a painting covered in red velvet cloth, Mona Lisa. Boggi is surprised to see the painting and, having Perugia’s consent takes Mona Lisa by car to the Uffizi Gallery to identify the truth.

mona lisa stolen

Mona lisa stolen: Perugia took out the wooden box from under the bed, took off his work clothes and paint tools, and finally took out the painting wrapped in red velvet cloth, which was the “Mona Lisa”.

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Modern people use advanced methods such as radiocarbon dating to ascertain the authenticity of a painting, but at that time it was only possible to verify the authenticity of the real thing by painting the shape of cracks on the surface, markings on the back, supporting elements such as canvas or panels. The Louvre museum staff took several clear photographs of Mona Lisa, with about thirty cracks per square centimeter. Like a human fingerprint, each area does not have the same crack shape. Experts from the Louvre also came to the Uffizi Gallery to assist in the identification and confirmed that Perugia’s stolen Mona Lisa was genuine.

After handing over Mona Lisa, Perugia was quietly touring the local area and was arrested by the police when he returned to the hotel in the evening to collect his luggage, leaving him with only two francs.

The news of Perugia’s arrest spread throughout France, and the next day major newspapers published headlines with a headline reading “Mona Lisa has been found!”


Shortly after the court began Perugia’s trial, Perugia explained in court his motive for stealing Mona Lisa: “I had previously seen a painting depicting Napoleon’s army pulling a freight wagon and shipping Italian art to France, so I decided to bring back the painting seized by France. Italy.”

Perugia’s comments, supported by some Italians, have called him a patriot and launched a concerted campaign to demand that Perugia’s detention conditions be relaxed. Although not a hero, Perugia wanted to bring art back to Italy from France, striking the hearts of some Italians. It can also be seen at that time that France far surpassed Italy in terms of art, culture, economy and so on.

However, Perugia had a serious misconception that France did not take Mona Lisa from Italy. In later years, Leonardo da Vinci, under the protection and assistance of King François I of France, settled near the Château d’Amboise, the royal residence. After Davensee died, Mona Lisa bought the work Monalisa for 4,000 écu (écu, an ancient French currency).

After investigation, Perugia actually intended to sell the painting to a painter in London. He once listed collectors and wrote in letters to his family, “I’m about to become a rich man,” which also calmed Italian nationalism known as “Perugia.” After questioning from the court, we finally learn the detailed process of Perugia’s theft of Mona Lisa.

When he was about to escape from the Louvre Palace, because the lock on the exit could not be opened, but a plumber who used to enter the Louvre passed by, he mistakenly thought Perugia was a construction worker and opened the lock for Perugia.

Three months after the theft of Mona Lisa, since Perugia had come to work at the Louvre Palace, the police listed him as one of the suspects and searched his home, but did not find the painting at the time. In addition, Perugia has a history, and the police collected fingerprints from his thumbs, but only the fingerprints of his right hand were archived at the time, and the fingerprints of his left thumb were found at the scene of the crime, which could not be matched to Perugia’s identity. If the police were able to conduct a more thorough search at the time, they should have been able to find suspects faster.

mona lisa stolen

Mona lisa stolen: Perugia had a history, and the police collected fingerprints from his thumbs, but only the fingerprints of his right hand were recorded at the time, and the fingerprints on his left thumb were found at the scene, which could not match Perugia’s identity.

For Perugia, it is fortunate that he was tried in Italy, not in France. Perugia’s defense lawyers argued that Perugia’s theft of Mona Lisa was out of a vengeful mentality towards France and not a crime committed based on personal gain and desire, saying “no one should blame the defendant”, prompting a round of applause from the jury. In the end, Perugia was sentenced to a sentence of one year and 15 days, reduced to seven months on appeal, but he was released directly from his arrest to his conviction. As Perugia walked out of the courthouse, many “fans” swarmed with reporters to shake hands with him.

Unsolved puzzles and clouds of doubt

On January 4, 2014, Mona Lisa returned safely to the Louvre, perhaps with Perugia in good condition, leaving only slight traces. However, some reports suggest that Perugia’s return of Mona Lisa may be a relic, and the authenticity of Perugia’s testimony is also questionable. Why did he keep the painting hidden for two years? Is there a messenger behind it? To this day, there are still many mysteries that remain unsolved.

mona lisa stolen

Mona lisa stolen: Some reports suggest that Perugia’s return of Mona Lisa may have been a hoax, and the veracity of Perugia’s testimony is also questionable

According to one of the testimonies, Jack Dean, a British fraudster who visited the French ambassador in London, he said in person that he was involved in the Mona Lisa scam, and Perugia was also an accomplice. He and Perugia commit the theft and sneak the real Mona Lisa into a scrap, so Perugia brings Mona Lisa to Florence, in fact, a treasure.

This is how the story of the Mona Lisa works is the mastermind behind the Argentine Eduardo de Valfierno and the French painter Yves Chaudron. They used to fake paintings and sell them to collectors for large sums of money, and were part of a scam group. First, Valfilno asked Chaudron to imitate the real Mona Lisa, making six fake paintings, and then hired Perugia to steal the real Mona Lisa. After news of the theft of Mona Lisa from the Louvre Palace spread around the world, Valfilno sold the work to six people in the United States. Collectors who make them think they are buying the real Mona Lisa, earn millions of dollars from the sold items.

Valfilno did not tell Perugia details about the trafficking scam, only asking Toperruja to steal Mona Lisa, so Perugia was only one of the people accused of committing the crime.

The mastermind Valfilno revealed the above crime to his old friend, American journalist Carl Decker, who agreed to publish the truth and publish it in a magazine after Valfilno died. However, none of these six pieces of Mona Lisa have been found to date.

The experts determined that the Mona Lisa in the Louvre collection was a real work painted by the author of Davency, after identifying the methods of composition, technique, history, and pigments. In addition, in the year 1996 before the theft of Mona Lisa, the repairman carried out the repair work on Mona Lisa, and repaired it again after the theft of Mona Lisa. If the painting was dropped, the repairer could not have found it. But perhaps there is a mysterious art collector who will place the real Mona Lisa in a hidden room and admire the smile of the noblewoman in the painting alone… the sight of such an empty sky is a delight.

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