On December 12, 1913, two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Mona Lisa is recovered inside Italian waiter Vincenzo Peruggia’s hotel room in Florence. Peruggia had previously worked at the Louvre and had participated in the heist with a group of accomplices dressed as Louvre janitors on the morning of August 21, 1911.
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The Mona Lisa Caper by Rick Jacobson
The Mona Lisa Caper is based on true events that began to unfold on Monday, August 21, 1911, when Vincenzo Perugia shocked the world by stealing the most famous of the many treasures in the Louvre. Though Vincenzo was a thief, he meant well. He simply wanted to return the painting to the Italian people in the mistaken belief that it had been stolen from them. Eventually, inevitably, Vincenzo was captured in Florence and put on trial. Italians gave him their hearts for his patriotism. In fact, he received so much food, wine, clothing, and furniture, that he had to be moved to a larger cell! Throughout Rick Jacobson’s lively text, Mona Lisa herself narrates the story of her trip back to the city of her creation. The playful art Rick has painted along with his wife, Laura Fernandez, heightens the fun. Not only is it Keystone-Cops funny, it is a sound introduction to the painting that continues to delight, amaze, and mystify hundreds of years after Leonardo da Vinci’s death.