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The Theft of the Ghent Altarpiece April 10, 1934

12 pages9 minutes


The Ghent Altarpiece or Adoration of the Mystic Lamb is a 15th century polyptych painted by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. One of its twenty panels was stolen from St. Bavon Cathedral in Ghent on the night of April 10, 1934. What happened to the panel is an enduring art mystery that spans the twentieth century and after. Completed in 1432 the masterpiece was taken by the French in 1794 for display in the then new Louvre Museum. King Louis XVII returned it to Ghent. It was partitioned once more, remaining apart until the Versailles Treaty that ended World War I. The vanquished German empire was forced to return the panels that were in their possession. The Altarpiece is now on display in a small chapel of St. Bavon Cathedral, protected behind glass.

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