When The Mona Lisa Was Stolen: 1911's Art Theft That Made The Painting World Famous

Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vince at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Source: (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

Even if you are not an art lover, you have seen reproductions of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo de Vinci’s famous 16th century portrait that has been hailed as a masterpiece. Today, we see the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile on t-shirts, coffee mugs, phone cases, and mousepads. She is so popular and recognizable that it is hard for us to believe that the painting hung in relative obscurity in Paris’ Louvre museum until it was stolen in 1911. The theft and the ensuing search for the painting brought world-wide attention to the Mona Lisa and made it the most-recognized painting in the world.