On the night of 21st August 1911 Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian enters the Louvre in Paris where he has been working. He goes straight to the Mona Lisa, removes it from the wall, dethatches the frame, pops the priceless work of art under his coat and leaves. What follows is a media frenzy, the most famous painting in the worlds has gone missing and only one man knows where it is.
Peruggia was convinced that Napoleon had stolen the masterpiece from Italy and so was doing what any true patriot would do and wished to return it to its natural home. What Peruggia was unaware of was that it was purchased by Francis I of France in the 16th Century and has since belonged to the French. Not sure of what to do with the painting Peruggia stored the it in his Paris home for the next two years. During this time speculation was rife as to who had committed the crime and at one point Pablo Picasso and Guillame Apollinaire were suspects. What happens after this led to the most famous painting in the world becoming a global icon.
The raiders team tracked down someone who knows the story better than any, Joe Medrios director of The Mona Lisa is Missing. We interviewed Joe in his LA home and he guided us through the story in great detail. We also traveled to Oxford University to interview world Leonardo expert Martin Kemp who was able to cast light on other masterpieces by Leonardo which have gone missing over time. Some of which have been retrieved but others which we may never see again.
Other contributors who help tell this exceptional story are Professor Marina Wallace Professor of Curating, Central St Martins, London and Art Historian Calandra Caldecott.
Raiders Of The Lost Art premiers on Yesterday TV August 13th at 9pm
To watch a preview click HERE