Timeless artworks are not only a product of an artist’s immense talent and years of hard work but also of a genius mind. When a stunning and valuable piece of art gets to the public, it gets exposed to the risk of theft. Critics, experts, and thieves are always on the lookout for some of the world’s famous artworks. In Italy, for example, it is well-known that artworks are frequently stolen from porno français museums.
The vice of stealing paintings has actually become Europe’s third most rampant illegal activity. While some artworks end up being found, there is a long list of timeless, prized pieces that have never been found. These lost pieces aren’t just a pain for the art world but for humanity as well. Paintings represent history and culture that can never be replaced. Despite exhaustive decades of search and investigations, these artworks have never been traced.
5 Famous Stolen Paintings
1. The Just Judges from the Ghent Altarpiece Jan Van Eyck
The Just Judges was one of the panels of the Ghent Altarpiece, a polyptych painting by the early Dutch artist Jan van Eyck. The painting comprises twelve panels, seven on the exterior and five on the interior, with The Just Judges panel on the lower left side of the exterior of the masterpiece. It depicts three judges sitting on a bench beneath a vaulted archway dressed in robes and holding scepters. The judges are surrounded by a group of men in armor, who are presumably the defendants in the case being heard. This masterpiece has not been seen since 1934, when it was stolen along with the rest of the Ghent Altarpiece.
2. Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen Vincent van Gogh
On the morning of April 9, 2002, two paintings by Rembrandt were stolen from the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. The paintings, both portraits of women, were cut from their frames and taken from the museum while it was closed to the public. The theft caused a great deal of uproar in the art world, as the paintings were considered to be among Rembrandt’s finest works.
3. Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence Caravaggio
The artwork by the great Caravaggio is among the 1.3 million well-known missing pieces around the world. The painting is believed to have been cut into pieces and sold at an exorbitant price on the black market.
4. The Concert Johannes Vermeer
The massive robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 1990 resulted in the loss of several artworks. The Concert Johannes Vermeer was one of the stolen pieces valued at around £130m. Up to today, investigators are yet to get a clue to its whereabouts. Artists considered it one of the most valuable missing artworks at the time it was stolen.
5. Portrait of a Young Man Raphael
The Germans stole this piece from the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow during World War II. Hitler ordered the artwork to be taken to his Berlin residence and then later to Wawel Castle in Poland. At the end of World War II, the piece disappeared without a trace, and no one knows whether the Germans destroyed it or it is still in possession of a German family.