What is “Mona Lisa“ well-known for?
That who goes to Paris and is going to visit Louvre I give good advice. To the well-known museum it is necessary to get shortly before opening, to enter there among the first, but to go not by the beginning of survey. In Louvre nobody forbids to enter into the museum and from the opposite side. Having quickly passed along even empty corridor, it is possible to appear almost alone with “Mona Lisa“ for the sake of which 99 percent of tourists come to Louvre.
Consider that you were lucky. You can admire “Gioconda“ of minutes fifteen until the hall begins to be filled with public. After that it is possible to leave to other masterpieces which in Louvre there is a lot of. Until recently many of them were in one hall with “Mona Lisa“, and very few people noticed them. All eyes were fixed on glorified “Gioconda“. I would tell, excessively glorified.
Though Leonardo`s picture, undoubtedly, is ingenious. The first it was estimated by colleagues from picturesque shop. Raphael, for example, borrowed both composition of a picture of Leonardo, and technology of execution for several portraits. The king Francis I bought “Gioconda“ at the price rather high for those times. Current art critics declare that it is invaluable.
But so was not always. At the beginning of 20 - go centuries Venus de Milo was considered as the best-known exhibit of Louvre. It was kept in quality of a standard of beauty and duplicated for general public in the form of figurines. And “Mona Lisa“ hung to itself in the so-called “square hall“. Here visitors came, but most of all this hall attracted to artists.
Among such there was also to Louis Baire (Louis Beroud) (1852-1930) , an artist quite successful those years and not up to the end forgotten presently. On Tuesday, August 22, 1911, it came to “the square hall“ to make sketches for a satirical picture, one of “participants“ of which had to be “Mona Lisa“ which is recently glazed for greater safety. To L. Baire thought up an amusing plot: the Parisian dandy (and can be, the woman of fashion) corrects a hairdress, looking in Leonardo`s picture, as in a mirror.
But on that place where recently the picture hung, emptiness gaped. To L. Baire took an interest where a picture. “Possibly, at photographers“ - answered it. The artist showed persistence, and it became clear that photographers have no picture. “Mona Lisa“ was gone! It is stolen!
The museum was closed. The police began a search and, eventually, established a crime picture. The thief came into the museum on Sunday, spent the night in one of back streets on the first floor. On the thief there was the employee`s dressing gown. Therefore he, without causing interest of people around, came in «the square hall“, shot a picture from hooks, took out it on one of lateral ladders, exempted from a frame and from glass and took out on the embankment.
However further the consequence did not promote. The famous Parisian newspaper declared an award in 40 thousand francs cash to the one who will bring the stolen picture in edition or 20 thousand francs specified its location.
And here the letter came to edition. The author chose to himself the pseudonym “Thief“ and noted that protection in Louvre useless. “Thief“ admitted that he itself stole several Iberian figurines from the museum. “I sold figurines to the Parisian artist, my friend. He paid me very little, only 50 francs which I lost in the same night“.
As then it appeared, the author of this letter - Geri Pierre (Gery Pieret) , the friend of the poet Guillaume Apollinaire . Feathers was an adventurer and the adventurer on the bum, than and attracted excentric Apollinaire. The Parisian artist mentioned in the letter was Pablo Picasso`s . Having learned about the letter, G. Apollinaire and P. Picasso outright strukhnut. To get to police on a charge of a robbery of Louvre it, to immigrants without the French nationality, it was impossible in any way. The artifacts bought cheap were drowned in Seine.
What, however, did not rescue G. Apollinaire from arrest. Someone informed that the poet called the museums a cemetery and urged to burn Louvre. It was enough for arrest on suspicion of theft of “Mona Lisa“. G. Apollinaire was let out only after protection of several famous writers and journalists.
Thanks to sensational theft “Gioconda“ did not descend from the first pages of newspapers and rags for a long time. “Information noise“ bore fruit. The number of visitors of Louvre after disappearance of an invaluable masterpiece increased. Often people came only to “the square hall“ to have a look at the place where the well-known picture hung.
And the press did not allow sensation to cool down. As the criminal was looked for, but not found, journalists began to make hypotheses one more fantastically another. Theft of a picture was attributed to the German spies who made it to humiliate great France … The picture was taken out to America and sold to the famous multimillionaire Morgan … And all this was discussed and milled, passing one thousand times through human ears and the heads. And the name of a picture in the heads got stuck. Also the thought was born: really, a great picture if around it there is so much noise.
Also the principle formulated by great Kozma Prutkov worked: “What we have, we do not store, having lost, we cry“. Those to whom has the luck to see “Gioconda“ shared memories about it. Loss value continuously grew. “Mona Lisa“ slowly but surely became the best picture of Louvre in public consciousness! The best picture of France! The best work of Leonardo da Vinci! Rates grew. Perhaps, art critics of our time immensely would mourn about loss of the best picture in the world if “Gioconda“ was not found in December, 1913!
At the same time did without pursuits and firefights. The Florentine dealer in antiques of Alfredo Geri (Alfredo Geri) received from Paris the letter signed by a certain Vincenzo Leonardi. In the letter it was offered to sell “Gioconda“. Jeri, having taken all this for a joke, invited the author in the Florentine office. On December 10, 1913 the author of the letter, the thin thirty-year-old person with moustaches dressed in black, not too new suit was to Jeri and was presented as Leonardi. For the stolen picture he asked 500 thousand francs, resting, however, on the fact that as the Italian - the patriot, he is glad to return home the work of the Italian art stolen by French at the time of Napoleon. Apparently, the thief did not know that “Mona Lisa“ was honestly bought from the author by the French king Francis I.
According to the thief, the picture was in his hotel room. Together with the expert, the director of Uffizi Gallery Giovanni Podzhi , the antiquary went to hotel where Leonardi got a picture from a suitcase with a double bottom. Having convinced of authenticity of a picture, the antiquary reported in police, and the thief was detained together with “Mona Lisa“. Its real name was Vincenzo Perugiia`s (Vincenzo Peruggia) (1881-1947) . Living in Paris, it some time worked in Louvre as the joiner and the glazier, but by the time of theft was not on the staff. Therefore also the suspicion on it did not fall.
In Perugiia`s court claimed that made theft, wishing to restore justice and to return to Italians work of the great Italian artist. As the court passed in Florence, but not in Paris, patriotic statements the business were made. The thief got off with punishment quite soft: one year and fifteen days of prison. Apparently, Perugiia`s “feat“ caused approval in many Italians. At least, soon there was a mineral water (with laxative action) under the name “Gioconda“ on which except the glorified picture it was represented also cunning a muzhchinka with moustaches, very similar to “the thief of century“.
“Mona Lisa“ came back already on December 20, 1913 to Louvre. Also came back so known that tourists should reap the fruits of this popularity and until now. It is unlikely now it is possible to make out really great creation of Leonardo without small cunnings about which I wrote at the beginning of article.