On December 12, 1913, the Mona Lisa came home to the Louvre.
She’d been gone for two years and the consensus was that she was gone forever. But the museum employee – Vincenzo Peruggia – who had stolen her got impatient and tried to sell the picture to the Uffizi Gallery.
Peruggia, who apparently thought every Leonardo belonged in Italy, had committed the perfect crime. He had hidden in a broom closet until after closing time, taken the painting and walked out with it under his coat. A real Peter Sellers caper.
The next day a visitor asked about the painting and was told it was being photographed. It actually took a couple of days for officials to realize it had really been stolen.
The painting was vandalized twice in 1956 and finally put behind glass in 1974.
If by some chance you find yourself in Glens Falls, NY, don’t miss the opportunity to see Leonardo’s charcoal and graphite study of the Mona Lisa at the Hyde House Museum. A very small museum with an absolutely stellar collection, it is virtually unknown. Paintings by Botticelli, Ingres, Eakins, Renoir, El Greco, Rembrandt, Raphael, Seurat, Picasso and Rubens can be found. along with works on paper by Braque, Kandinsky and Roualt, among others. They were all collected by Louis and Charlotte Hyde. Mrs. Hyde left her house – on the National Register of Historic Places – and her art for the benefit of Glens Falls and “the public in general.” Admission is free.
Or, as shown below, you can make your own.