From thought-provoking Post-Impressionist masterpieces to shadowy epics by Caravaggio, Dutch Golden Age icons to medieval triptychs, here are ten beautiful paintings the world will probably never see again.
10. The Concert by Johannes Vermeer
Breaking all records for all works of stolen art for all time, Vermeer’s The Concert is worth an estimated $200 million. It was plucked from the collections of the prestigious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston along with 13 other masterpieces by a gang of thieving opportunists disguised as policemen. Oceans 13, anyone?
9. Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso
One of the most iconic images to disappear during the infamous Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris raids in 2010, the fate of Le pigeon aux petits pois remains shrouded in mystery. The thief – subsequently caught – said he’d thrown it in the trash! While police doubt the story, it would still seem like something of a fitting (if terrible) demise for a masterpiece of Surrealism and Absurdism.
8. Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh
This pint-sized still life by everyone’s favorite Dutch post-Impressionist will only set you back a mere $50 million dollars. At least it would, if it hadn’t been stolen from Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in 2010. Shockingly, this isn’t the first time the work has gone walkabout. It was lifted from the same museum back in 1977, turning up in the Middle East after a decade on the road.
7. Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (The Adoration) by Caravaggio
A visceral and shadowy chiaroscuro from the light-and-dark master himself, The Adoration once made its home above the elaborate altarpiece of the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. That changed when it disappeared following a robbery exactly 360 years since its creation. Many think the painting was destroyed accidentally during the theft, while others speculate it’s still in the hands of La Cosa Nostra!
6. Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael
It was during the dark days of Nazi plundering across Europe that Raphael’s iconic self-portrait went amiss, taken into the heartlands of the Reich from the prestigious Czartoryski Museum of Kraków, Poland. Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine was also in the haul, though that’s back in Poland and the Portrait of a Young Man remains AWOL. Approximately, it’s worth a cool $100 million.