The Most Stolen Work of Art
During its lifetime the 1492 Flemish masterpiece, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, was stolen 5 times. The enormous two ton painting features 12 panels that depict characters and stories from the bible.
- 1566 – Calvinists (Protestants) plotted to steal and burn it but were foiled at the last moment.
- 1794 – Napoleon’s invading troops stole four panels. When Napoleon was defeated the King of France Louis XVIII gave them back to Belgium.
- 1816 – The vicar at the Cathedral where the painting was kept stole the wing panels to sell to an art dealer. They ended up in a museum in Berlin and were given back in 1919.
- 1934 – The lower-left panel was stolen and a ransom demanded. The painting was later returned, minus the panel.
- World War 2 – Hitler took the painting which he believed was a map to lost Christian relics that would provide supernatural powers. It was later discovered in a salt mine by the Monuments Men (a U.S. Army force tasked with saving art looted by Nazis).