Robbery, vandalism and pie: remember attacks on the Mona Lisa painting

Robbery, vandalism and pie: remember attacks on the Mona Lisa painting

Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting was once missing between 1911 and 1914 after a robbery

The attack on the painting of the Mona Lisa, at the Louvre museum on Sunday, impressed visitors and netizens alike, as images of the cream of a pie spread on top of the protective glass reverberated. However, this was not the first blow against Leonardo Da Vinci’s Gioconda.

In 2009, a tourist threw a cup at the frame and damaged the protective glass. In 1974, while on display at the Tokyo National Museum, a woman tried to spray red spray paint on the painting, to no avail. In 1956, she suffered two attacks: one with acid, which damaged one of the lower parts of the frame, and one with a stone, which caused minor damage. Furthermore, in August 1911, the painting was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, being rescued only in January 1914. The Louvre YouTube channel tells this story in a small animation.

In 1910, a high-ranking French official declared: “Stealing the Mona Lisa? As impossible as stealing the towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral!” the video begins. “But less than a year later, on Tuesday, August 22, 1911… the newspapers were full of this incredible story… it became a state matter that wreaked havoc in the Chamber of Deputies and shook the government. The painting was nowhere to be found…”

The first suspects were famous artists such as the Spaniard Pablo Picasso and the Frenchman Guillaume Apollinaire, who spent three days in prison before being proved innocent and released.

“Time passed… weeks turned into months… the investigation was getting nowhere… It wasn’t until two years later, in the Italian city of Florence, that something finally happened,” the film continues.

The thief, identified as Vincenzo Perrugia, was sentenced to prison after a highly publicized trial. “This is how he carried out his crime: he was given the task of making a window display to protect the Mona Lisa… At closing time on Sunday, August 20, 1911, he and two accomplices were hidden in a storeroom inside the museum. The next day was the museum’s closing day, Perrugia casually dropped the painting, and managed to get out of the Louvre unseen.” 1914, in the midst of “a magnificent party” to “welcome her home”.

‘People are destroying the Earth’

In Sunday’s case, an apparent weather-related publicity stunt, the author was disguised as a lady in a wheelchair. Suddenly, he stood up, spread the cream on the glass protecting the painting and threw roses across the museum hall while exclaiming “Think of the Earth, people are destroying the Earth”.

Source: O Globo Agency

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