CAIRO – 22 August 2022: On August 22, 1911, the Mona Lisa, one of the most famous international paintings of the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, disappeared, causing a great uproar in the world.
The thief is the Italian Vincenzo Peruggia (October 8, 1881 - October 8, 1925), who used his work in the Louvre as a restorer of the frames of paintings, to steal the Mona Lisa.
Peruggia had long thought about stealing the painting, and when he decided, he put on a coat so that he could hide the painting. He left his house to go to work, and before the employees left, he stood in a far corner watching passers-by to see if anyone was still there. Once he made sure that the museum had been fully evacuated, he stole it, put it under his coat, and simply walked through the exit gates.
Of course, no one suspected Vincenzo Peruggia, since he was one of the museum employees.
While walking to his house, he dreamed of getting rich and how much he would earn after selling the Mona Lisa, until he entered his house and kept contemplating the painting. He kept the painting in his house for 2 years.
Peruggia did not find the right buyer, and when he decided to sell the painting, he went to the Italian artist Alfredo Geri to offer him to buy the stolen painting. Alfredo Geri mislead Peruggia by pretending to want to buy the painting and asked for some time to make sure the painting is real.
After Geri made sure the painting was indeed the real Mona Lisa, he contacted the Italian authorities and tipped them about the robbery.
Perrugia's mug shot - social media
The Italian police managed to arrest Perrugia, and placed the painting in the Bouvier Gallery, which pleased the Italians.
When France learned about this incident, diplomatic negotiations took place with Italy, and diplomatic relations were at stake. France insisted that Italy return the painting and with it the thief so that France would prosecute him.
Italy handed over the painting to France, and Peruggia was sentenced to a year in prison.