How a High Profile Theft and an Enthusiastic Critic Made the Mona Lisa So Famous

Vox writer Phil Edwards explained how a high-profile theft and an enthusiastic critic made the “Mona Lisa” such a famous painting.

Many writers have chronicled the exciting and infamous story of how Vincenzo Peruggia stole the “Mona Lisa” in 1911. (This Smithsonian piece is particularly vivid.) But why did Peruggia target the “Mona Lisa” in the first place? The answer might lie with a critic named Walter Pater (1839–1894).