Throughout this worldwide pandemic, we’ve seen some beautiful and heart-warming acts of kindness and generosity; neighbours helping one another out, communities coming together, and new campaigns launched to support small businesses.
But we have undoubtedly seen some ugly acts, too — of course, we’re talking about toilet paper gate. Now, in news no one saw coming, it seems someone has taken advantage of the world in self-isolation, carrying out a robbery of a well-known Dutch museum and snatching a priceless Van Gogh painting.
In what police are calling a “smash-and-grab” raid, thieves stole The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) painting from The Singer Laren museum in Amsterdam, which like many cultural centres around the world, was closed to protect visitors against the spread of coronavirus.
It’s reported the break-in occurred in the early hours of Monday morning, and by the afternoon, a temporary door had been installed. With Van Gogh’s birthday being March 30, 1853, the painting was stolen 167 years on from his date of birth.
Museum director, Jan Rudolph de Lorm, says he is “shocked and absolutely livid that this has happened,” according to the ABC.
“This beautiful and moving painting by one of our greatest artists stolen — removed from the community,” he added. “It is very bad for the Groninger Museum, it is very bad for the Singer, but it is terrible for us all because art exists to be seen and shared by us, the community, to enjoy to draw inspiration from and to draw comfort from, especially in these difficult times.”
The value of the work has not been disclosed, however, Van Gogh’s paintings, when they are rarely featured at auction, have previously sold for millions. The Guardian reports the painting stolen has an estimated value of up to £5 million (AU $10,038,700).
Police alongside a team of forensics and art theft experts are now investigating the footage and questioning residents closeby. The painting was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.