The Most Audacious and Absurd Art Theft

“Old Robbers”: Theft of a painting by A.P. Quinja from the Tretyakov Gallery

When: 27 January 2019

The fate of the exhibit: the painting was found

Three levels of security, full of people’s hall, a rush hour in the gallery – it would seem that only the most desperate criminal would dare to steal something under such conditions. However, sometimes the crowd becomes not the enemy, but the best friend of thieves, because it is so easy to get lost and seemingly insignificant. Apparently, this effect took place on the evening of January 27 in the Tretyakov Gallery, when an unknown man, together with other visitors, considered the painting by Archip Quinja “Ai-Petri. Crimea”, just took … and took the painting off the wall, hiding with him from the museum.

The burden is not heavy: the theft of a 100-kilogram coin from the Bode Museum

When: On 27 March 2017

The fate of the exhibit: probably the coin was melted

This robbery is considered by many to be a real “theft of the century” because only very well-prepared thieves will be able to quietly remove an exhibit weighing 100 kilograms and 53 centimeters in diameter from one of the most protected museums in Germany. Nevertheless, these craftsmen were found: under the cover of the night, several intruders not only managed to get into the museum and bypass the alarm system but also to take a huge gold coin out of the building, without attracting anyone’s attention.

As the police found out, even though the alarm system was off, there was a lot of noise that night. Let’s start with the fact that a huge gold coin had to be rescued from under the glass cap, which the robbers broke through with an axe. After, as the police had supposed, the intruders loaded the coin on the car and took the exhibit out of the museum, constantly dropping it and creating additional noise, which, however, no one has paid attention to. Later it turned out that one of the gang members had worked in the museum himself, so he probably knew best of all how to deceive the external rigor of the museum security.

Unhealthy patriotism: the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre

When: August 21, 1911.

The fate of the exhibit: the painting was returned

It is difficult to imagine a more popular picture, but the more interesting it is to know that the legendary work of Leonardo da Vinci might never have known the world fame if it wasn’t for this robbery. Until now, no one knows exactly what moved the Italian Vincenzo Perugia, when he planned to steal a masterpiece from the Louvre: some believe that the thief just wanted to return the portrait to his historical homeland, while others believe that it was only in the money. We must think the truth lies somewhere in the middle: one way or another, Vincenzo kept the painting in his apartment in Paris for two years and was caught only when he tried to sell the stolen gallery director in Florence.

The fact is that Vincenzo himself was an employee of the museum. As legend has it, on the night of the robbery in the Louvre was maintained, and it was him that Perugia put his most daring hopes. In the end, if anyone notices the loss, he will most likely decide that the portrait was taken to the inspection, and will not give an empty space on the wall of great importance. And so it happened: Vincenzo hid the canvas under his coat and hid discreetly from the museum, barely suspecting that the masterpiece he stole would soon become the most famous painting in the world.

The biggest art fraud in history

When: 2019.

It’s not really a robbery, but one of the most vivid art-related frauds. It estimates 380$ million damage.

According to the statement, for a long time Sotheby’s helped Bouvier to persuade Dmitry Rybolovlev to buy works of art at inflated prices. For more than 10 years of cooperation, Bouvier bought 38 works of famous artists for Rybolovlev worth more than $2 billion. The entrepreneur notes that he paid the art dealer a commission for the “fictitious” negotiations with the sellers.

The text of the Rybolovlev-Bouvier lawsuit states that the incident was “the biggest art fraud in history. In turn, Sotheby’s denies the charges. The defendant will ask the court to dismiss the claims. This story has so far been left without a final.

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