Paintings and sculptures of the past give us a sense of our history. Where would we be without the beloved Mona Lisa? Art plays a critical role in our lives and speaks to various matters like politics, religion, science, and history. Art is known to have an immortalizing effect.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most recognizable and most visited piece of art in the world today. Imagine if she hadn’t been recovered after thieves attempted to steal her only to be caught 2 years later. There is other art to the likes of the Mona Lisa out there – still missing.
Missing: Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco by Caravaggio – $20,000,000
“In October 1969, two thieves entered the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Italy and removed the Caravaggio Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence from its frame. Experts estimate its value at $20 million.
“The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting believed to have been created in 1609 by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. Recent acquisitions link the painting to that commissioned by Fabio Nuti in April 1600, and thus sent from Rome to Palermo.
Missing: Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt – priceless
“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting from 1633 by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn that was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, prior to being stolen on March 18, 1990.
“The painting depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, as depicted in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is Rembrandt’s only seascape.
Missing: Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Van Gogh – $15,000,000
“Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen was made early 1884 for his parents, his father the pastor of the church since 1882. Van Gogh’s mother, Anna van Gogh, was healing from a broken thighbone. The painting was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum on December 7, 2002.
Missing: Landscape with an Obelisk by Govert Flinck – priceless
“Landscape with Obelisk is painting by Dutch artist Govert Flinck, painted in 1638. The painting hung in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, prior to being stolen on March 18, 1990. To this day, the painting has not resurfaced. A $5 million reward is offered for the return of the stolen items.
Missing: Alexander III Commemorative egg by Fabergé – $20–30,000,000
“The Alexander III Commemorative egg is a jewelled enameled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1909, for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented it to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
“The egg commemorates Alexander III of Russia, who had died fifteen years previously. The egg is one of four to commemorate Alexander, along with the Alexander III Portraits, Alexander III Equestrian and Empire Nephrite eggs. The surprise was a miniature gold bust of Alexander. The Alexander III Commemorative egg is one of the seven Imperial Fabergé eggs that are currently missing; and one of only two lost eggs for which a photograph exists, the other being 1903’s Royal Danish.
Destroyed: Portrait of a Lady by Caravaggio, formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Berlin
“Portrait of a Courtesan (also known as Portrait of Fillide) was a painting by the Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Painted between 1597 and 1599, it was destroyed in Berlin in 1945 and is known only from photographs. It has been suggested that the portrait represents the goddess Flora.
Missing: White Duck by Jean-Baptiste Oudry – $8,800,000
The White Duck was originally property of Houghton Hall in Norfolk, England until it was stolen in 1990 with no further information on the theft.
Lost: Royal Danish egg (Danish Jubilee egg) by Fabergé – $20–30,000,000
“The Royal Danish egg (also known as the Danish Jubilee egg) is a jeweled enameled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé in 1903, for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
“One of seven Fabergé eggs that are currently lost, it is one of two eggs whose existence is known only from a single photograph, the other being 1909’s Alexander III Commemorative egg. A partially obscured photograph of the lost 1888 egg Cherub with Chariot may also exist.
Missing: Chez Tortoni by Édouard Manet – priceless
“The painting depicts an unidentified gentleman sitting at a table in the Café Tortoni de Paris while drawing on a sketchpad while a half-empty glass of beer stands on the table. This painting was also stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts on March 18, 1990. The painting is still missing.
Missing: Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael
“Portrait of a Young Man is a painting in oil on panel, probably from 1513–1514, by the Italian High Renaissance Old Master painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino better known simply as Raphael. The painting was stolen by the Nazis from Poland. Many historians regard it as the most important painting missing since World War II.
Lost: A reconstruction of Phidias’ Zeus, from 1572
“The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about 42 ft (13 m) tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. A sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels over a wooden framework, it represented the god Zeus sitting on an elaborate cedar wood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones.
“It was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World until its eventual loss and destruction during the 5th century AD. No copy of the statue has ever been found, and details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins.
Missing: View of the Sea at Scheveningen 1882 by Van Gogh Est. $15,000,000 USD
In December of 2002, thieves broke into the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and stole the painting in five minutes.
Missing: The Concert by Vermeer $200,000,000–priceless
This painting was also stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March of 1990. The Concert was painted in 1664 by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer which depicted a man and two women playing music.
Missing: View of Auvers-sur-Oise by Cézanne $3,000,000
“On December 31, 1999, during the fireworks that accompanied the celebration of the millennium, a thief broke into the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England and stole Cezanne’s landscape painting View of Auvers-sur-Oise. Valued at £3 million, the painting has been described as an important work illustrating the transition from early to mature Cezanne painting.