Unpacking Mona Lisa at the end of World War II in 1945
The Mona Lisa is one of the most – if not THE MOST – well known and beloved painting in the world and it’s been stolen multiple times but during World War 2 the painting was sitting pretty in the Louvre, meaning that it had to be kept safe from the Nazis.
Jacques Jaujard, director of France’s National Museums, concocted a plot to keep the art in the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, from falling into the hands of Nazis.
On August 25, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union announced their Nonaggression Pact and Jaujard closed the three days “for repairs.” During this time the Louvre staff removed paintings from their frames (if that was a possibility), moved statues, and placed these items in wooden crates.
The crates were then marked with red dots to mark the significance of the art (the Mona Lisa received three dots) and on August 28, 1939, hundreds of trucks carrying 1,000 creates of artifacts and 268 crates of paintings to the Loire Valley where the art was kept far from bombing targets.