The 5 most incredible art thefts in history
Raphael, Monet, Vermeer… let’s see together 5 spectacular thefts!
It’s really been many years since the first documented art theft in history took place! It was 1473 when a group of Polish pirates sacked a merchant ship bound for Florence on which the “Last Judgment” by the German painter Hans Memling was transported!
Since then 7 centuries have passed and, even if the technologies have become more sophisticated and the means by which they are committed are different, the thefts of works of art continue to be committed!
Let’s find out the 5 most sensational art thefts of all time!
5) Three Renaissance masterpieces stolen from the Ducal Palace of Urbino (1975)
On the night between 5 and 6 February 1975 from the halls of the Ducal Palace in Urbino, three symbolic paintings of the Italian Renaissance are taken away: “La muta” by Raphael with “The flagellation” and the “Madonna di Senigallia” by Piero disappear into thin air. della Francesca! The crime caused a huge sensation especially because the Museum did not have an alarm system ! The works, impossible to sell due to their inestimable value and notoriety, were found the following year in a warehouse in Locarno in Switzerland and have since traveled outside Italy only on the occasion of some rare loan.
4) “The Scream” by Munch stolen in broad daylight (2004)
If most of the thefts take place during the night or early in the morning when the museums are closed and the chance of being discovered is less, this theft took place in a completely different way, for all to see! The thieves acted undisturbed during the opening hours, taking a 1910 version of the famous “Scream” and an 1894 “Madonna” by the great Norwegian artist away from the Munch Museum in Oslo . Numerous assumptions about the end of the works, which reappear in the Museum two years later, following six arrests by the Norwegian police.
3) Impressionist masterpieces taken away from the Musée Marmottan in Paris (1985)
Another theft in broad daylight, for an operation that is unbelievable! The authors of this coup in fact entered disguised as tourists with an entrance ticket to the Musée Marmottan in Paris, only to hold 40 visitors and 9 guards hostage while they stole nine works by the greatest Impressionists. Among the pieces of the stolen goods there is also the iconic painting by Monet “Impression, soleil levant ” (1872), which due to its great historical-artistic importance has made the value of the robbery inestimable. In 1990 all the pieces were found in a villa in Corsica with the arrest of seven people.
2) 124 Mayan artifacts stolen from the National Museum of Archeology in Mexico City (1985)
You don’t need to be a pro to land a big hit, as this theft proves! In 1985, two college students linked to a drug ring stole 124 artifacts, including a priceless jade death mask depicting a Mayan ruler, from the National Museum of Archeology in Mexico City . The fact that two amateurs were able to land a theft of this magnitude caused a huge stir at the time, making it a film in 2018. The two were arrested, but some pieces of the stolen goods were never again found because they were exchanged for drugs.
1) The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston burglarized in 1990
A 500 million dollar stolen goods for one of the deepest mysteries in the entire history of art! On the morning of March 17, 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was literally robbed of some of its treasures: a 1633 Rembrandt , a Manet portraying a man in a cafe and finally a very rare 1664 “Concerto” by Vermeer , one of the few known works in the world by the enigmatic Dutch artist. The case is still unsolved and no police lead has been able to lead to a solution, but recently the streaming platform Netflix broadcast a miniseries “This is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist”, directed by Colin Barnicle, who tells the incredible story.