Framed Picasso

I don’t mean a framed art work by Picasso, but rather a point in time when Picasso was framed for a crime. Specifically, stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911.

The gap on the wall of the where the Mona Lisa was exhibited

Now the actual thief was found a year later with the Mona Lisa in his trunk a mile away from the Louvre. Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian museum handyman had hidden away in a broom closet until everyone, including staff, had left the museum on a weekend. He then took the Mona Lisa off it’s stand and walked out with it under his jacket.

And no one noticed.

I guess in 1911 there weren’t many safety precautions except for security guards, but I’m sure this encouraged the Louvre to beef up their standards.

The police record of Vincenzo Peruggia

Many people were suspected of the theft, the most famous being Picasso.


Picasso pictured with the Mona Lisa


The group that Picasso associated himself with had a known thief in it. Gery Pieret, the man in question, had even stolen some sculptures from the Louvre previously and presented them as a gift to Picasso because Picasso had taken a liking to them.

Therefore, it’s pretty obvious to see how some of the members of his group were suspected of stealing one of the most priceless paintings in the Louvre.

Nevertheless, Picasso was cool under pressure despite the allegations, denied everything and was released. It turns out Peruggia had intended to return the Mona Lisa to Italy, where he believed it rightfully belonged. He was even praised by some Italian museums for his attempt. He served only around 7 months for his crime before being released.

1911 was part of an interesting era to say the least. While I don’t endorse any kind of criminal behavior I hope this inspires you to stand strong in the truth and what you know even when you might be standing alone, and of course inspire you to create. You might even create a piece so good someone will try to steal it from a museum someday.



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