Tess’s story is entirely fictional. However, this book is inspired by one true event. On August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa (or, as she is known in France, La Joconde) was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. An Italian workman named Vincenzo Peruggia hid in a broom closet until the museum closed and simply walked out with the painting under his coat. Monsieur Béroud was the real painter who discovered the theft.
The painting was missing for two years, and most of the world gave up hope of ever finding it again. Finally, Peruggia tried to sell the painting and was caught in the attempt. La Joconde was returned to the Louvre in 1913 and remains there today.
Morrison, Gabriel, "The Empty Gallery" (2014). Honors Projects Overview. 95.
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