On This Day 21 August

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-08-21
In 1770 James Cook claimed what would become Australia; in 1936 BBC first broadcast from Alexandra Palace; in 1942 Bambi was released in theatre; in 1983 Philippine opposition Benigno Aquino Jr was assassinated; in 1996 Netscape 3.0 was released. In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from Le Louvre

La "Joconde" a disparu (the Mona Lisa has disappeared)

The Mona Lisa was moved from the Palace of Versailles to the Louvre after the French Revolution. It was on the 21st of August 1911 that the painting was stolen, although there was confusion the next day as to whether it really had been stolen. The museum was closed for a week to investigate.

The investigation led to Picasso who was brought in for questioning but eventually exonerated. In fact the real thief was Vincenzo Peruggia who as an Italian employee of the Louvre and helped construct that glass case that housed the Mona Lisa. He was a patriot and felt that the painting belonged in Italy rather than the French museum.


He kept the painting in his apartment for 2 years eventually attempting to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery (see photo below) for 2 weeks and returned to the Louvre in 1914.


Peruggia was arrested and served 6 months in prison, although was praised by Italians for his patriotism.

Le vol de la joconde - the theft of the Mona Lisa : short documentary from the French/German television channel arte

Other events on this day

  • 1770: James Cook formally claimed the east coast of what would become Australia for the UK
  • 1911: Mona Lisa was stolen from Le Louvre (it was recovered 2 years later)
  • 1936: first television broadcast by BBC from Alexandra Palace
  • 1942: release of Bambi in theatre in the US
  • 1983: Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr was assassinated
  • 1996: Netscape 3.0 internet browser was released
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