Biggest Museum Heists of All Time

Art has been stolen for as long as it has been created. For the last couple hundred years, some of the best pieces of art have been held in museums that has seen some of the biggest museum heists of all Time. Here are some of the biggest and most brazen museum heists of all time.

The Louvre, France 1911


It goes without saying that Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. However, it was stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1911 by three handymen that worked there. The three his overnight in a supply closet at the museum and one of them in Vincenzo Perugia was the one that put up the protective glass around the famous painting. The thing is the painting was so famous that it was impossible to sell and Perugia hid it in a trunk for over two years. He was caught trying to finally sell it. This theft is not the biggest one in terms of the money of the art stolen, but with the most iconic painting the world-over it has to be on the top of the list.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, USA 1990

This heist was not only relatively recent but also the biggest in terms of the art that was stolen. There were two thieves in this heist, as they were disguised as Boston Police officers. They came to the museum under the guise that there was a disturbance at the museum telling the guard on duty at the time to go get his partner and when he did both were handcuffed by the thieves and hid them in the basement duct-taping them to the pipes there. They stole nearly $500 million worth of paintings with some of the more famous ones being Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Manet’s Chez Tortoni, and Vermeer’s The Concert. The thieves were never caught, and these days there are empty frames that hang where the famous stolen paintings used to hang.

The Stockholm Museum, Sweden 2000


In late December of 2000 armed thieves stole nearly $30 million worth of paintings from famous artists such as Renoir and Rembrandt. They set up a diversion in the form of an explosion of two cars to throw the police off their trail and keep them busy while they then used semiautomatic weapons to overtake the museum security and steal the precious art. The thieves then used a small boat as a getaway and were never heard from again.

The Kunstahl Museum, Holland 2012

Gang members from Romania took part in this heist where seven valuable paintings by the artists of Monet, Picasso, Matisse, and Gaugin. The total value of the stolen art was $24 million and, surprisingly, they were not caught right away, as they were making their getaway they tripped the alarm of the museum. However, the Kunstahl Museum is a rather small museum, which, at the time, only used electronic security and no guards were on duty to protect the art.

February Film Releases

We are only in February, but already several top February film releases have already made their debut in cinemas up and down the country. There is a fairly reasonable chance that you will already have made it out to theatres to watch Paddington 2, or Black Panther, but what else is in store for moviegoers in 2018. Let’s have a peek at some of the top titles coming your way this year.

Coming Soon

Arriving on March 23 is Pacific Rim: Uprising. The sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s often criticised predecessor, and starring Star Wars hero John Boyega, this film is Steven S. DeKnight’s turn to take the helm. We’ve got a feeling it will all get very Power Rangers like, but what pre-teen won’t get their kicks out of that?

Everybody loves a blockbuster, right? Well, critics usually don’t, but we’re not interested in what they think here. The first big blockbuster to hit cinemas this year is set to be Tomb Raider. Based on the world-famous rebooted video game of the same name, Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander is stepping up to the plate as heroine Lara Croft, as she attempts to track down her dad and survive. Don’t expect too much archaeology in this flick, but here’s to hoping she proves a better Lara Croft (more in line with the original video game character) than her lacklustre predecessor, Angelina Jolie did.

Dwayne Johnson seems to pour out film after film of late (few of which are particularly memorable) but he’s a big box office lure, so it is not surprising that fresh from his Jumanji adventures, he’s set to star in Rampage, another video game to film project. Giant monsters destroying cities, with The Rock there to save the day; tiresome, yes? Is it worth a look for special effects alone? Probably.

Later This Year

Deadpool 2 is a film we’re all excited to see. Ryan Reynolds’ ever so naughty Deadpool is set to tangle with Cable (John Brolin) in the next instalment of this dead-pan comedy franchise. It’ll have swearing, it’ll have crudeness (aplenty), and it’ll have fighting. We can’t wait.

Ignoring yet another superhero movie (The Avengers: Infinity War) because, quite frankly, we’re bored of them, Star Wars is set to launch its next spin-off. Solo naturally focuses on a young Han Solo (who looks nothing like Han Solo) and Lando Calrissian (who looks nothing like Lando Calrissian) in their pre-Rebel years. The cast is impressive, and although the last spin-off outing (Rogue One) was a hit, we’re not sure the necessary baggage the film comes with (re-writes, changes of directors, the list goes on) is going to make it any good. Given that The Last Jedi was poor, okay, that’s an understatement; we really need Disney to pull it out of the bag here.

Also making their debut in cinemas later this year are Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Incredibles 2, Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Predator, Halloween, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Mary Poppins Returns. If you love your blockbusters (excluding the endless parade of superhero movies), 2018 could be a good year for you.

The Hidden Secrets in Arts and Culture

There are many hidden secrets in arts and culture, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life, you will certainly have heard of the Mona Lisa. Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “portrait” is arguably the most famous painting in the world, and it continues to fascinate and captivate the world, 500 years after it was first made. What is it about the Mona Lisa that is so fascinating, though, and why do we keep talking about a painting that surely everybody knows everything there is to know about?

What’s So Special About the Mona Lisa?

There are several reasons why the Mona Lisa stands out from all of the other paintings you’ve often heard of, not least because it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. This painting – which actually doesn’t look anywhere near as impressive as some other artists’ feats – was ahead of its time, though. The technique da Vinci uses (sfumato) makes him one of the first use the “without lines or borders” style of creating light and shadow illusions.

Da Vinci worked on the Mona List for four years, and it was a fond favorite of his patron, Francois I. Throw in the fact that there are only a limited number of canvas painting by the man himself (da Vinci devoted a lot of his time to works besides paintings, too) and the fact that it is in such good condition, and that it is one of the most valuable and secured paintings in the world, and it is no wonder that the Mona Lisa stays appealing in the public eye.

Whilst this is all very interesting to fans of fine art, it isn’t enough to keep your average Joe interested. What else could it be about the Mona Lisa that keeps us intrigued then?

Hidden Secrets Keep Us Interested

The Mona List’s history and the myths and legends surrounding the painting could arguably be the main reason why the painting continues to draw a crowd and fascinate us. It was, for instance, stolen in the early 20th Century. An already famous painting which was stolen and eventually found increases its popularity and reputation. The fact that it appears virtually everywhere (as reproductions, coffee cups, and comedic advertisements) also makes it very memorable. We’ve heard of it, and we’ve all seen reproductions of it, even if most of us have never visited the actual painting.

One of the myths surrounding the painting is that it was actually a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo (a silk merchant in Florence at the time). Some people have even said that the Mona Lisa is da Vinci’s portrait of himself – a female da Vinci if you will. The fact that it may not be Lisa del Giocondo means that people are always trying to discover who the portrait is really of, and that keeps us interested.

Arguably the most famous myth around the painting is that there is something underneath it all. It regularly makes the news and scientists announce that they have uncovered pictures or fragments of layers below the Mona Lisa. Depending on which story you hear, there could be as many as four painting underneath it.

As long as these rumours, myths, and theories exist, the Mona Lisa will continue to captive and excite us.