Here are two stories about the most famous painting THE MONA LISA.
Stolen “Mona Lisa” One of Year’s Sensations (1911)
(From the Honolulu Evening Bulletin – September 30, 1911)
PARIS – The announcement that Leonardo da Vinci’s famous portrait of Madonna Lisa Del Gioconda of Florence, known as the “Mona Lisa,” the costliest painting in the world, had been stolen created a tremendous sensation here, Parisians being said to have forgotten for the time the rumors of war. Great crowds collected in the neighborhood of the Louvre where for five years the painting has been on exhibition and from which the thief carefully removed the portrait from the frame, leaving the frame on the staircase.
The theft of the Gainsborough portrait, stolen from London and recovered many years later through the efforts of the late Pat Sheedy, “honest” American gambler, was insignificant compared to the loss of the “Mona Lisa,” for which it is said an offer of $5,000,000 has been refused. Art connoisseurs aver that, while this seems a preposterous value to place upon a painting, the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece is second only to the Sistine Madonna in intrinsic value. The portrait of the Florentine lady was painted more than 400 years ago and the beauty of Mona Lisa has lived through the centuries on this canvas.
Mona Lisa Recovered; Thief Is In Custody (1913)
(From The Salt Lake Tribune – December 13, 1913)
Mystery that Baffled World for More than Two Years is Solved
France to Get Picture Back
Vengeance His Motive
FLORENCE – Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece, “La Geaconda,” or, as it is more popularly known, “Mona Lisa,” was recovered in a dramatic fashion in the city today, more than two years after its disappearance from the Louvre in Paris.
A few days ago Alfredo Geri, a prominent our dealer of Florence, received a letter signed “Leonard,” offering to sell a picture of great value.
Geri, in accordance with his custom, made immediate arrangements to look at the picture. When he looked upon the canvas he saw at once that it was the stolen masterpiece and sent for Director Poggi of the Uffizzi galleries. Poggi was also struck with the remarkable resemblance to the missing portrait from the Louvre.
Experts Identify Picture
In order to make certain, however, the two experts sent for Commendatore Ricci, the famous art critic of Rome. When he had looked at the painting he gave it as his unqualified opinion that the painting was none other than the picture that has been sought throughout the world for two years.
Ricci requested that he be given an opportunity to talk with the man who had offered the canvas for sale. Accordingly the man was brought before him. He was questioned briefly. The fellow seemed half-witted, and he could not give a good account of himself. He was then arrested.
As he was being taken away by the police he kept laughingly repeating that he had taken the picture out of revenge for the robbery and destruction of Italy’s art treasures by Napoleon 100 years ago. He declared It had been his purpose to restore it to Italy.
After the police had submitted the man to thorough questioning it was discovered that his name was Vincenzo Perugia.
The correspondent of the International News Service had a talk with the thief. He then told how he had stolen the painting.
“I was an employee of the Louvre,” said he. “Many times I heard my French comrades tell me how many of the treasures in the galleries had been stolen by Napoleon from Italy. Then I decided that I would steal a picture myself and get some revenge for the insult to my country.”
“One Monday in August, 1911, while the guard was relaxed, I removed ‘La Giaconda’ from its place in the galleries and hid with it in the cellar until evening. Then I removed the painting from its frame and took it home with me. I kept the panel hidden for two years. Three months ago I wrote to Alfredo Geri and offered to sell the painting for$100,000, provided that the painting be kept in Italy. When I came here I was arrested. That is all I know about it.”