Police in Serbia tracked down a stolen Rembrandt painting on Monday and arrested 4 people. The painting – a portrait of the Dutch painter’s father – was stolen in 2006 along with others from a museum in Novi Sad, Serbia. It is the only one from the haul that has been discovered so far. What was interesting:
“The painting […] was stolen in January 2006. It had already been stolen 10 years earlier but was recovered in Spain.” [Art Daily]
“[Serbia] has a considerable collection of masterpieces but they have been locked away since the theft of a Renoir 17 years ago. The National Museum has been closed for renovation – including security upgrades – for more than a decade” [BBC News
This made me think of a few other famous historical artworks and artefacts that have been stolen:
– The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was stolen in 1911 from the Louvre by Vincenzo Peruggia, but recovered 2 years later when he tried to sell it.
– The Scream, by Edvard Munch was stolen twice – once 1994 from the National Gallery in Oslo and again in 2004 from the Munch Museum, also in Oslo (there are 4 versions of the painting). Both have been found. The thieves in 1994 left behind a postcard with the note: “Thanks for the poor security” [New York Times]
– For Montrealers, Frère André’s heart was stolen once too! Brother André is a Quebec Catholic saint whose remains are venerated at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory. When he died, the archbishop of Montreal decided to follow a custom used to venerate French kings – the removal of the heart as a relic. The box containing his embalmed heart was stolen in March 1973 and found again in December 1974 in the basement of a Montreal home. Nothing says home decorating like a box with an embalmed heart in it – ewwww. [St. Joseph’s Oratory]
Is it just me, or does it seem like stealing art and antiquities isn’t the cleverest of business moves? Stealing them seems to be quite easy – trying to resell a painting as famous as the Mona Lisa seems not-so-smart.