Mona Lisa: The Case of the Missing Masterpiece

By Dennis Hensley

One of the most surprising factoids that I learned when I toured the Louvre Museum in Paris a few years back is that Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa had been stolen back in 1911. As heists go, that’s quite a prestigious booty but then what do you do with it once you’ve nabbed it? It’s not like you can display it in your hoMe…unless you tell visitors it’s a fake and where’s the fun in that?

Maybe you could sell it to some egomaniacal super-villain to hang in his lair but anyone else you approach would probably report you, which is exactly what happened to the real thief, a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Perrugia, when he tried to return the painting to Italy and sell it to a gallery in Florence.

The theft of the Mona Lisa plays a role in two separate events at this month’s Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, a three-week smorgasbord of everything cool, cultural and retro-French (the event’s theme is Paris 1910-20.) On April 9 at 11:00 AM in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, Astral Artists will present the family-friendly multimedia show Who Stole the Mona Lisa? featuring musicians, storytellers and an animation set to Stravinsky’s Firebird.

Meanwhile, across town, the prestigious Arden Theater is presenting a new play created especially for the festival called Wanamaker’s Pursuit. Set in 1911, the year the Mona Lisa was stolen, the play tells the story of an American department store owner’s son who travels to Paris to buy dresses and has his horizons broadened by Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso and designer Paul Poiret. The show runs through May 22. Learn more about both events at (Supported by PIFA). Follow FIFA at

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Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

One thought on “Mona Lisa: The Case of the Missing Masterpiece

  1. Leonardo will always attract seekers!
    When I was in Paris 2005, I could not visit the Louvre. But the Louvre came with sound recording equipment, which were kindly provided by the French. Found the “Mona Lisa” and began recording background sound created numerous visitors who came to see the masterpiece. The logic was simple. Allow myself to be noted that any masterpiece has the property of highly structured information field. Man – this is also, at its basis, the field structure. There is a contact of two field structures – human and masterpiece. This is probably the power of art. The sounds published the people who were in the masterpiece (talk, the shuffling of feet, etc.) were very valuable to me, they were correlated associated with him. Subjecting these records complicated transformation process, I managed to get some incredible sound. Many are led into shock – these sounds there is a clear identification with the portrait of “Mona Lisa.” Similar records I’ve made in the famous sculpture of Venus. As a result, based on these records, I had three works – “Knowledge”, “Flow” and “Communication”.

    MONA LISA_VENUS(Опыт работы с шедеврами) .avi

    Structure of presented video: sound background at Mona Lisa – result of transformational processing of a background, a sound background at Venus – result of transformational processing of a background, a work “Knowledge” fragment (the transformed sounds are used only).
    Full details can be found on my master class
    Academia of Music, Kishinev MOLDOVA
    (sorry, translated by google)


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