On the 21st of August in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Musée du Louvre. The theft wasn’t discovered until the following day.
The Section Chief of the Louvre makes a frantic call to the Captain of the Guards… who informs the Curator… who telephones the Paris Prefect of Police… who alerts La Sûreté, the National Criminal Investigation Department. By early afternoon, sixty inspectors and more than one hundred gendarmes rush to the museum. They bolt the doors and interrogate the visitors, then clear the galleries and station guards at the entrances. And for an entire week they search every closet and corner — room-by-room, floor-by-floor — all forty-nine acres of the Louvre.
When the Louvre reopened, the public arrived in droves to see the vacant wall with the four iron pegs where the painting had been hung. Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested as a suspect but he denied everything, pointing the finger at his friend, Pablo Picasso. Both were exonerated two years later when the Uffizi Gallery in Florence contacted the Louvre to say that they had been offered the painting by Vincenzo Perugia, who was promptly arrested by the Italian authorities. It seemed that Perugia had simply hidden in a broom cupboard until the museum closed and then walked out with the painting under his coat.
The Mona Lisa was recently in the news as a deeper understanding of da Vinci’s technique has become available as the result of X-rays.
They found that some layers were as thin as one or two micrometers and that these layers increased in thickness to 30 to 40 micrometers in darker parts of the painting. A micrometer is one thousandth of one millimeter.
The manner in which Da Vinci painted flesh, “his softened transitions,” were pioneering work in Italy at the end of the 15th century, say the researchers, and were linked to his creativity and his research to obtain new paint formulations.
Which leads us nicely into this week’s collection of Saturday Scenes!
On the 21st of August in 2010, pioneering photographs were taken all over the world! Do you doubt our creativity?
Take a moment to drop by the Twitterstreams of our contributors to find out more:
Shouldn’t you save a photograph of your day-to-day life for posterity? It’s easy!
- Take a photograph on a Saturday
- Upload the photograph
- Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location
- Bookmark http://twitter.blog.me.uk/ for future descendants to find
I’m looking forward to seeing your photograph in the next edition!