Peruggia, a former employee of the Louvre, walked into the Louvre museum in Paris,
walked straight up to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, took it off the wall, hid
it under his clothing and walked out, unchallenged. The painting was apparently
only discovered missing when an amateur painter set up his easel and noticed there
was a gap where the Mona Lisa used to be... He notified the guards.
was awash with rumors, including speculation that the Germans had stolen it to
embarrass the nation.
police investigated for two years, but found nothing.
November 1913 an Italian art dealer, Alfredo Geri, received a letter from Peruggia
who told him the Mona Lisa was in Florence and demanded a ransom. Peruggia was
arrested when he came to collect the money. The painting had not been damaged.
claimed that he had taken the painting to avenge Italy of the atrocities committed
by France in the Napoleonic wars. He was sentenced to a year in prison, and served