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Stolen armor from the 16th century returned to the Louvre decades after theft



Written by Jack GuySaskya Vandoorne, CNN

Two pieces of armor from the 16th century have been returned to the Louvre Museum in Paris almost 40 years after they were stolen.

The Renaissance-era helmet and body armor were made in Milan and encased in gold and silver, according to a statement from the Louvre on Thursday.

Baroness Salomon de Rothschild donated the armor to the French state in 1

922. The pieces were exhibited in the Louvre when they were stolen overnight from May 31 to June 1, 1983, according to the statement.

“The circumstances of the theft of these pieces, which were little known to the public, had remained a mystery,” the museum said.

The theft “deeply troubled” museum staff at the time, but the armor has now been recovered thanks to investigators’ work, according to the statement.

The armor will be displayed in the Objets d’Art rooms in the Richelieu wing when the Louvre reopens. It closed to the public in October last year due to coronavirus lockout restrictions.

The armor is displayed when the museum reopens.

The armor is displayed when the museum reopens. Credit: THOMAS SAMSON / AFP Getty Images

Such thefts are rare but not unheard of.

One of the museum’s most famous works was stolen more than 100 years ago.

Before the 20th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was not very well known outside of art circles. But in 1911, a former Louvre employee looted the portrait and hid it for two years.

Public fascination with the theft helped cement the painting’s place in popular culture ever since.

“Mona Lisa” is one of the star attractions at the world’s most visited museum.

Last year, the Louvre lost more than 90 million euros in revenue and saw a 72% drop in visitors due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

However, the museum is taking advantage of the closures by carrying out long-planned renovations.


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