In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a noblewoman, titled Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, sometimes titled La Giaconda, and known popularly as the Mona Lisa, was stolen from its place in the Louvre in Paris.
The event caused an enormous stir, eclipsing for a time talk of an impending war, and was the focus of much attention worldwide; until the crime was apparently solved 28 months later with the apprehension of the thief and the return of the famous painting to its former space.
When I say “apparently solved”, I don’t mean to imply that the painting returned was not the original, that was established without doubt; but Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, in their book The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection, suggest that there was more to the theft than was apparent, and that the true crime went unsolved.
Stealing Mona Lisa is excerpted on the Vanity Fair site and makes for an interesting read.
If it’s true, I only have this to say about the real “victims” of the crime — it couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate bunch of selfish creeps.