The greatest works created by the best masters are the cultural heritage of mankind. Today, the best works of art are kept under protection in museums, and their value at auctions reaches tens of millions of dollars.
But sometimes there is a temptation to steal a masterpiece. Here is a list of the most famous stolen art pieces that remain lost.
Stradivarius violin by Davidoff-Morini. Possessing a Stradivarius violin for a musician is like owning the Holy Grail. This instrument is considered to have a high quality and rich sound. Stradivari created an instrument that, even after centuries of use, has not lost its unique qualities. You just have to take care of these unique violins. It is believed that only about 650 original musical instruments from a medieval master have survived to this day. By the way, these are not only violins, but also violas, cellos, harps, guitars and mandolins. All museums consider it an honor to have at their disposal a Stradivarius creation. His works are not only in private collections, but in the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Stradivari Museum in Cremona, Italy. And in October 1995, a unique creation of the master, dated 1727, was stolen from the apartment of violinist Erica Morini in New York. The approximate cost of the rarity was $ 3 million. The mistress herself died soon after the robbery, unable to survive the bitterness of loss. True, she was already 91 at that time. And that theft is still on the FBI's list of the ten largest crimes related to art. The unique violin is considered lost and no one knows where it is now.
Painting by Von Gogh "View of the sea at Scheveningen". On December 7, at about 8 am, a couple of unknown robbers climbed onto the roof of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. From there, the thieves were able to get inside the premises. The attackers took only two of the variety of paintings: "View of the sea at Scheveningen" and "The flock leaving the reformist church in Nyunen." Van Gogh painted both works between 1882 and 1884. It is believed that at this time the artist created his best masterpieces. And the total cost of the paintings is about $ 30 million. The official website of the museum says that Van Gogh painted this picture while in the beach resort of Scheveningen, near The Hague. The poor artist had to literally fight the weather - there was a strong gusty wind that lifted grains of sand into the air and made them stick to the paint. And although Van Gogh removed the sand from the paint, its remains can be found in some of the layers on the canvas. In 2004, two people were arrested on charges of theft. They were sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, but the paintings were never found. The museum has announced a reward of 100 thousand euros for those who provide some information on the location of art objects.
Painting by Pablo Picasso "Dove with green peas". This theft turned out to be rather strange. The incident occurred on May 20, 2010 in Paris, at about 7 o'clock in the morning. Five paintings worth 100 million euros were stolen from the local Museum of Modern Art. One of them was Picasso's masterpiece "Dove with Green Peas", created in 1911. To get into the museum, the thief simply broke the window and broke the lock. The criminal turned out to be so dexterous that he managed not to cut the paintings with a knife, but to quickly and accurately pull them out of the frames. The surveillance camera showed that one single thief was operating, and not a whole gang. The police found someone who could have been. The thief was convicted in 2011. Only he said that after the theft he fell into a panic and simply threw the paintings into the trash. The story is in doubt, and the paintings are still missing.
Painting by Paul Gauguin "Girl at the Open Window". This masterpiece of Gauguin was created by him in 1888, and it was stolen relatively recently - in October 2012. The crime was committed in the Künsthal Museum in the Dutch Rotterdam. Along with the painting by Gauguin, six more paintings by such famous artists as Picasso, Monet, Matisse and Lucien Freud disappeared. Thieves entered the museum at about 3 am. In just three minutes they raced through the museum, took seven paintings and left. The police who arrived at the scene just threw up their hands. The approximate cost of the stolen masterpieces is 18 million euros. But already in November, the first suspect, Radu Dogaru, was arrested. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. On December 6, the second malefactor, Adrian Prokop, was also arrested in Berlin. But the paintings were never found.
Painting by Jan Vermeer "Concert". One of the most famous masters of the 17th century is the Dutchman Jan Vermeer. Today, almost all of his paintings are housed in museums or the Royal Collection in London. One of the most famous canvases by Vermeer was the "Concert", created by him in 1664. The canvas depicts a pair of women and a man playing music in a dimly lit living room. Back in 1892, the Parisian art critic Théophile Thor sold the painting at an auction on his estate to the famous philanthropist Isabella Gardner. So the "Concert" ended up in her personal museum, where it was exhibited since 1903. And on March 18, 1990, a couple of thieves, disguised as Boston police officers, showed up at the museum, allegedly on call. Inside the museum, robbers stole 13 paintings, including Vermeer's masterpiece, as well as paintings by Flink, Degas and Rembrandt. These creations have never been found, and "Concert" is generally considered the most expensive lost painting in the world - its price is about $ 200 million.
Painting by Jan van Eyck "Just Judges". This crime dates back to April 10, 1934. Then, at an exhibition held in the Cathedral of Saint Bavo in Ghent, Belgium, a painting by Jan van Eyck "Fair Judges" was stolen. This canvas in itself was only a part of the altarpiece "Adoration of the Lamb", created in the years 1426-1432. Only one part of the 12 panels was stolen, while the robbers left a note. In French, it was written that the painting was taken from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. And then an interesting correspondence began. For seven whole months, the Belgian government communicated through letters with a certain person who claimed that he had the picture and demanded a ransom. The thief was identified on November 25, he turned out to be a local eccentric politician Arsene Godertier. Already dying, he said that only he knew where the picture was, but he would take this secret with him to the grave. Since then, many versions have appeared about the location of the painting. And although many are inclined to believe that it was destroyed, it is still officially listed in the list of missing works of art.
Painting by Rembrandt "Storm on the Sea of Galilee". Together with the "Concert" by Jan Vermeer, this painting also disappeared from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. The painting is notable in that it was the only seascape painted by Rembrandt. "The Storm" depicted the miracle of Christ as he calmed the Sea of Galilee. These events were described in the Gospel of Mark. The robbery itself became the largest in the world of art, committed in America. In March 2013, the FBI called a special press conference, where it was announced that the names of the performers were disclosed. Criminal analysis showed that the paintings were stolen by a whole organized organization, and not local loners, as previously thought. However, the authorities said that the investigation is still ongoing, so it is too early to name names. Since then, no new data has been reported about the fate of the paintings. And although more than 23 years have passed since the crime, the investigation is still ongoing. The authorities are promising a $ 5 million prize for information on the whereabouts of the paintings.
Painting by Claude Monet "Charing Cross Bridge, London". Between 1899 and 1904, the famous impressionist Claude Monet painted a whole series of paintings dedicated to London's Charing Cross Bridge. They show the object at different times of the day, for which the artist used a wide color palette. The painting, created in 1901, was in Rotterdam and was stolen from the Künsthal Museum in October 2012. One of the captured intruders claimed that he burned Monet's painting, like other stolen paintings, in his mother's oven. So the thief tried to hide the evidence. And although some pigments were indeed found in the furnace, there is no tangible evidence of the culprit's words and the destruction of the painting. Therefore, art critics still hope to find and return Monet's masterpiece.
Eight Imperial Faberge Eggs. Today, Russian tsars are often remembered in connection with the objects of art that belonged to them. In particular, the collections of Faberge Imperial Eggs created by him for Alexander III and Nicholas II are highly valued. The representative of the House, Peter Karl Gustavovich Faberge, made the eggs true masterpieces of art, adorned with precious stones. This work was carried out by the jeweler between 1885 and 1917. In total, the collection included 52 imperial eggs known to experts, along with exquisite jewelry, exquisite metal parts and complex gears, and screws for winding mechanisms. And in 1918, the new Bolshevik government allowed the plundering of the Faberge House and the royal palace in St. Petersburg. The eggs were confiscated and sent to the Kremlin. Over time, some of them ended up in the hands of private collectors, others ended up in various museums around the world. The fate of eight such items has remained unknown since 1918, they were simply stolen. Today, each Faberge egg is valued at about a million dollars. Rumors associated the lost rarities with Europe, then with the United States, and even with South America.
Painting by Vincent Van Gogh "Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV". On October 21, 1888, the artist wrote a letter to his brother Theo about his latest work. In a vague sketch, the artist depicted a row of green cypress trees against a pinkish sky, while the moon was drawn in the form of a pale lemon crescent. In the foreground of the canvas is loose soil, sand and a few thistles. The painting also depicts a pair of lovers - a pale blue man in a yellow hat and a woman in a black skirt and pink bodice. In the same year, 1888, the painting was completed. But in the late 1930s, on the orders of Hitler, many "corrupted" works of art were confiscated from many private collections and museums. Among them was the painting by Van Gogh "Lovers: The Garden of the Poet IV". In fact, Hitler wanted to create his own art collection, the largest in the world. For her, those same "depraved" works were intended. The Americans created a special military group, "Monuments Men", which was called upon to find in war-torn Europe and preserve cultural values. However, after the end of World War II, Van Gogh's masterpiece was never found.