The Patriotic Theft of the Mona Lisa

The Patriotic Theft of the Mona Lisa

mona lisa picture frame

The Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world, wasn’t always so well known. While it was always well regarded in artistic circles, for much of its history, it’s only claim to fame was its painter- Leonardo Da Vinci. Sold into the French royal family after Da Vinci’s death, several important historical figures did recognize the value of the work. King Louis IV of France has it on display at his personal palace at Versailles, while Napoleon hung the painting in his own bedroom for a short time. Yet for all this, most people on the street wouldn’t be able to name the Mona Lisa if they saw it in 1911.

It was this very history that seemed to bother Vincenzo Peruggia. He, along with many of his fellow Italian countrymen, thought the work should have long ago returned to Da Vinci’s homeland of Italy. Had Da Vinci not been in France when he died, the painting would likely have remained in the country, in some form of fashion. As such, Peruggia thought it only right that the painting be returned to Italy by any means necessary. Not to say he wasn’t going to make some money for his trouble, but the money wasn’t his chief concern.

His plan was simple, and likely only worked due to the painting’s considerable lower profile at the time. Peruggia got a job at the Louvre which allowed him to learn his way around the building- and to learn the uniforms of the employees. Though he no longer worked there by time the theft took place, he did enter and leave through a service entrance, using his knowledge of both the paintings security and the layout of the museum to escape without arousing any suspicion.

Another sign of the paintings lower profile was the fact that its theft went unnoticed for over a day. Though some did note its absence, all assumed the painting was being cleaned or photographed elsewhere, as was common at the time. It was not until an irritable patron demanded to see the painting that authorities noticed it was completely gone.

It was one of the first high-profile art thefts of the era. Though the painting itself wasn’t well known, the painter was. Newspapers and other media reproduced the pilfered painting, making it recognizable the world over. This newfound fame the painting enjoyed also made it far harder to sell, since it was now not just more well-known, but specifically for well-known being stolen. And indeed, the painting was recovered and Peruggia arrested after attempting to sell it in Florence.

The painting would go on display briefly in Florence before being returned to Paris. However, it very much seemed like the floodgates had been opened. The Mona Lisa was the most famous painting in the world now, and would remain so till the modern day. This fame would make it even more of a target in years to come. Not just from thieves- the painting would be attacked several times in the 20th Century. Peruggia himself, however, received a sentence of less than one year, and went on to live a normal life.

Recommended Reading

Matboards Award Winners – 2023

The hard work of all our artists and/or framing novices does not go unnoticed so we’re honored to present to you the winners in our 6 coveted categories. Their choice of color, quality, size and even core allowed them to stand out amongst the 200+ submissions. You have all done so well to make this [

read more »
Valentines Matboards and Frames

Valentines Day Matboard and Frame Ideas Custom Heart Shaped Matboards A Valentine Day matboard and frame is a great gift to show someone how much you care. A heart shaped matboard and frame is a simple yet thoughtful way to show your appreciation. See our custom designs for loving gift ideas this Valentines Day. Contact us with [

read more »
2019 Photo Contest

2019 Photo Contest We are launching our biggest contest ever! E-mail or Instagram a picture of our mattes or frames with your artwork for a chance to win up to $200. This is a fun way to share your artwork with our audience and show case how you use our custom matting and framing products! [

read more »
Matboard Awards 2023

We are launching the first and biggest ever award show dedicated to your matted art! E-mail or Instagram a picture of your artwork with one of our products, for a chance to win up to $200 or our brand new Matboard and More merchandise. This is a fun way to share your artwork with our [

read more »
2022 Christmas Submissions

2022 Christmas Submissions 2022 was an incredible year all around for Matboard and More. We are excited to share with you some of the customer submissions from the holiday season. It’s always an honor for us when our custom mats and picture frames are utilized to showcase your gifts and treasured art pieces. To be [

read more »
Beautify Your Mats with Unique Openings. 7 Custom Corners Now Available!

Custom Opening Shapes Available In addition to oval opening matboards, we’ve added unique corners including Diamond, Rounded, Angled, Step and Circle corners. Explore all our new custom mat board openings now.

read more »
Behind the Scenes at Matboard and More

Come take a look behind the curtain to see the magic of making custom matboards and frames! Our facility in Marietta, GA is where we create all of our products. We are proud to source from US suppliers and make everything in house. This ensure we have the highest quality and standards. Matboard Storage [

read more »
2020 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Jen A is this years winner of the photo contest! This picture is so perfectly framed, pardon the pun. This year was definitely the best in terms of quality of photos. We had so many creative submissions and it was very challenging for our team to choose, but Jen A stood out with her gorgeous [

read more »
V-Grooves Now Available

V-Grooves Available for Custom Matting V-Grooves are a shallow cut across the mat which exposes the core color of the top mat. V-Grooves can be cream, white or black depending on the mat core color. Your matboards will have extra flair and style that will make uniquely display your art. Add a V-Groove with just 1 click on [

read more »
Items per page:
1 – 9 of 141
Matboard and More Logo

We sell pre cut mats and custom picture frames in any size, color and quantity. Our products also include custom matting, backing boards, clear bags, show kits, matboard value packs, custom plexiglass.

© 2012 - 2024 Matboard and More LLC, All Rights Reserved