Art and Entertainment

Lucas Cranach the Elder

Norway’s Latest Art Theft Recalls “The Scream” and Other Famous Art Heists

March 10, 2009 11:14 AM
by Haley A. Lovett
A $2 million Cranach painting stolen from a church near Oslo joins ranks among stolen works such as “The Scream” and the "Mona Lisa.”

Cranach Latest Famous Painting Stolen in Norway

Thieves broke into a church near Oslo on March 8 and got away with a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The painting depicting Christ with two infants, entitled “Let children come to me,” is estimated to be worth between $2 million and $3 million.

In 2004, armed thieves got away with two paintings from the Munch Museum in Oslo. “Madonna” and the other painting, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” were said to be worth an estimated $19 million combined. Another version of Munch’s “The Scream” was stolen from the Norwegian National Gallery in 1994, though it was later recovered.

Related Topics: The Mona Lisa stolen, art returned to Italy, China’s missing relics

One of the most famous art heists was the theft of the Mona Lisa from Paris' Louvre in 1911. Believing that the painting rightfully belonged to Italy, Vincenzo Perugia, a Louvre employee, took the painting and offered to give it to Italy for payment. Perugia was later apprehended and the painting was returned to the Louvre after touring Italy. Some Italians considered Perugia a national hero.

In 2008 Italy was able to recover several pieces of artwork that had been stolen or illegally removed from the country from American museums such as the Cleveland Art Museum.

It is common for countries to have artwork stolen or illegally removed during times of conflict. In early March, Cai Mingchao, an advisor to China’s nonprofit National Treasures Fund, placed fake bids in a Christie’s auction to draw attention to cultural relics up for auction and in hopes that they would be returned to China. The fountainheads were thought to have been taken by French or British soldiers at the end of the second Opium War.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines