7 questions on art thefts

7 questions on art thefts

Thieves have stolen paintings by 20th Century masters Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian from Greece's National Art Gallery in Athens. An international hunt is now on to recover the artworks. How much do you know about other high-profile art thefts?

Picasso's Woman's Head

1.) Multiple Choice Question

The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 from the Louvre in Paris in what was called "the art theft of the century". Which famous artist was questioned by French police about the theft?

  1. Salvador Dali
    Salvador Dali
  2. Henri Matisse
    Henri Matisse
  3. Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Picasso


Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole the painting. He walked out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. He believed the painting should be returned to Italy. He kept it in his flat for two years and was finally caught when he tried to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Mona Lisa returned after the theft

2.) Multiple Choice Question

Thieves stole 140 precious artefacts from Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology in 1985. What had reportedly happened to the museum's alarm?

Jade mask of Mayan King Paka
  1. Never installed
  2. Had been broken for three years
  3. It was on silent so the guards could sleep

3.) Multiple Choice Question

Three paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin worth £4m ($6.2m) were stolen from the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester in 2003. Where were they found the next day?

Whitworth Art Gallery
  1. A public toilet
  2. A charity shop
  3. On a bus

4.) Multiple Choice Question

In 1994 Edvard Munch's most famous work The Scream was stolen from a gallery in Oslo, Norway. What did thieves leave behind?

Edvard Munch's The Scream
  1. A note reading: "Thanks for the poor security."
  2. A ransom note for $1m
  3. A poster of the painting stuck to the wall

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Munch painted four versions of his famous work. How many have been stolen?

The Scream at the Munch Museum
  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. All four

6.) Multiple Choice Question

In one of the most audacious art thefts, armed robbers walked into Stockholm's National Museum in 2000 as visitors were milling around. They took a Rembrandt and two Renoir paintings. How did they escape?

Self-portrait by Rembrandt
  1. Helicopter
  2. Speedboat
  3. Skateboards

7.) Multiple Choice Question

All of these paintings have been stolen, but which has been recovered?

Empty picture frame
  1. Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
  2. Cezanne's The Boy in the Red Vest
  3. Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder
  4. They all have


The painting, worth an estimated £40m ($61m) at the time - was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, in 2003. Two men posing as tourists overpowered the guide and took Leonardo's masterpiece from the wall and escaped through a window. The picture was recovered in Glasgow in October, 2007.

Leonardo da Vinci's


  1. Pablo Picasso was questioned by police. He had nothing to do with the crime and was released without charge. Police questioned him and his poet friend Guillaume Apollinaire as they had previously been suspected of handling stolen artefacts.
  2. It was widely reported that the alarm system had been broken for three years. Objects taken included jade and gold pieces crafted by the Mayans and Aztecs. One vase alone was estimated to be worth over £13m ($20 million). A lot of the artefacts were found in a private home two years later. It is still believed to be the single largest theft of artefacts.
  3. They were found slightly damaged and crammed into a tube behind a public toilet. A note was attached to the paintings claiming the motive of the thieves was to highlight poor security at the gallery.
  4. It was a thank you note. The ransom note for $1m (£650,000) was later sent to the gallery. Officials refused to pay, unsure the demand was genuine. The masterpiece was eventually recovered. In 1996 four men were convicted and sentenced in connection with the theft.
  5. It's two - the 1994 theft and one a decade later when thieves stole another version from the Munch Museum in Oslo, along with another painting titled Madonna. Both were recovered in 2006.
  6. They escaped from the waterfront gallery by speedboat with the paintings worth an estimated £23m ($36m). Police stumbled upon one of the paintings during a drug investigation months later. Eight men were sentenced to up to six-and-a-half years in jail. All the paintings were eventually recovered.
  7. It's the Madonna of the Yarnwinder, one of the world's most valuable works.

Your Score

0 - 3 : Fake

4 - 6 : Amateur

7 - 7 : Priceless

For past quizzes including our weekly news quiz, 7 days 7 questions, expand the grey drop-down below - also available on the Magazine page (and scroll down).

Find out more about Picasso here. For more on Picasso paintings the public own - including you - explore Your Paintings.

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