January 4, 1914 the Mona Lisa returned to the Louvre. The masterpiece had been stolen two years earlier from the museum by an Italian handyman, Vincenzo Perrugia. As a worker he had access to the galleries. He hid in the museum until it closed for the night then removed the painting from its frame. The next day he calmly walked out of the museum with the painting hidden under his working smock. Peruggia kept the painting in the closet of his Paris apartment while the police was searching in vain. The French public was incensed-- how could a priceless treasure disappear from the Louvre?.
Two prominent artists of the time were prime suspects-- the poet Guillaume Appollinaire and Picasso- for the police thought it might have been the work of the "Modernists" and "avant-guardists", enemies of the traditional art.
Perrugia later claimed that he wanted to return the painting to Italy for he believed erroneously the Mona Lisa had been taken to France by Napoleon's forces. In fact, La Joconde was purchased by King Francois I directly from the master himself- Leonardo da Vinci in the mid sixteen century.
|Mona Lisa returns to the Louvre|
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Tags: Louvre, Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa theft