The Louvre recovers 16th-century Renaissance-era armor stolen 40 years ago


A set of gold and silver encrusted renaissance armor dating back 40 years was recovered after being reported stolen.

The recovery was prompted by a military antique expert who alerted the police regarding an inheritance in Bordeaux where the luxurious helmet and body armor were part of a family’s collection. He was called in to give his advice on an inheritance situation in Bordeaux. 

Acting on the expert’s suspicions, the police did their due diligence and found the items on a stolen artworks database taken from the Louvre in May 1983 under mysterious circumstances. 

Also read: Angelina Jolie sells Winston Churchill painting for £7m

Among the items recovered were a helmet and an iron breastplate. Both were donated in 1922 by Baroness Salomon de Rothschild. Prosecutors in Bordeaux are investigating how the items landed in the family’s estate. The armor and helmet were made sometime between 1560 and 1580 where the Rothschild family delivered them to the Louvre in 1922. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Philippe Malgouyres, the head of heritage artworks at the Louvre was certain the artworks would “reappear one day” given they are such “singular objects.” He went further to describe the antiques as “prestige weapons” custom made with great skill akin to the making of a modern-day luxury car. 16th-century weapons were made into luxurious artworks, particularly armor.

Also read: Paris restaurants move into the outdoor markets to survive the crisis

Over 100,000 items are listed in the French database of stolen artifacts, 900 alone making their way on the list last year. Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre president pointed the last theft at one of the world’s most visited museums in 1998 - a 19th-century portrait by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, a French artist. 

The museum tweeted the new find and thanked the Central Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Cultural Goods (OCBC) for its recovery efforts. The museum added that the new items will be displayed on the first floor of the Richelieu wing at the museums reopening. 

Also read: Notre Dame could have new furniture and stained glass windows

Treasures returned to the Louvre

In 1911 a petty art thief Vincenzo Perugia robbed the Louvre of the Mona Lisa but was later reported by Alfredo Geri, an art dealer in Florence who saw to it that he was arrested. Perugia, an Italian national was among the glass crew workers at the Louvre.

Alfredo Geri had put several advertisements for fine art in several Italian newspapers. Using a pseudonym name Perugia wrote to Geri that he had the Mona Lisa. He actually expected an award for returning the painting. After the incident, the theft made it the most famous painting across the globe. 

Also read: A section of the Eiffel Tower staircase at auction

Louvre renovations

During the lockdown, the Louvre museum has undergone significant renovations.  It shouldn’t be a surprise for the world’s most visited museum. The lockdowns and restrictions on movement had left famous artworks like the “Venus de Milo” "Mona Lisa" and "Liberty Leading the People" robbed of attention. To make the most out of the situation, the museum utilized the absence of traffic to carry out renovations.

Ph:  Christian Bertrand /

Wanted in Europe
Wanted in Europe
Wanted in Europe, part of the Wanted Worldwide network, is a website in English for expatriates in Europe established in 2006. We cover Europe's news stories that may be of interest to English speaking residents along with tourists as well. Our publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
Previous article Buy local Jersey products
Next article All you need to know about the forest of Rold Skov