The heist of the world-famous painting Mona Lisa on August 21, 1911, by Vincenzo Peruggia still baffles the world. It is known as the greatest art theft in history and boosted the publicity of the painting.
Vincenzo Peruggia was an artist and an Italian worker at the Louvre Museum in France. The authorities predicted that Perugia must have hidden inside the museum on the weekend of August 20, 1911, knowing that the museum would be closed the next day. After hiding in a closet overnight, Vincenzo Peruggia simply removed the painting in the morning and hid it in a smock similar to those customarily worn by museum employees. Wearing this helped make him indistinguishable from other workers.
Hiding the artwork under his smock, he walked out into the streets of Paris with the renowned painting. However, during a police investigation, Peruggia stated that he entered the museum in the early morning hours of August 21 along with other workers, dressed in a white worker’s smock; thus, no one suspected him.
The Louvre was closed on Monday. No one noticed the disappearance of the great painting because artworks were often removed to be photographed or cleaned. On Tuesday around noon, when a security guard tried to track the painting down but couldn’t locate it, the museum’s security alerted the police and began a frantic search.
Almost two years later, Perugia finally tried to sell the Mona Lisa to an art dealer in Florence. The dealer informed the police, and Peruggia was arrested. The painting was successfully recovered in 1913.