There Is A Very Real Coronavirus Art Thief Out There

Photo: Peter Dejong/AP/Shutterstock.
The spread of coronavirus has temporarily halted nearly all cultural experiences, from the Metropolitan Opera to the cinematic debut of Trolls: World Tour. One person — or perhaps a motley crew led by Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean? — is diabolically taking advantage of that fact. 
A Vincent van Gogh painting was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands, according to BuzzFeed News. Per the report, the glass door at the front of the museum was broken into in the early hours of the morning, and though police arrived after being notified by the museum’s alarm, they were unable to catch the culprit(s).  
Titled "Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," and sometimes known as “Spring Garden,” the painting features a lone person walking through a green garden landscape. 
The Singer Laren Museum is closed due to calls for social distancing to combat the spread of the coronavirus — something the perpetrator(s) likely knew full well and planned to their advantage. 
Museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm expressed his disappointment in a press conference about the break-in and robbery Monday. 
“I am shocked and unbelievably pissed off,” he said. “Art is there to be enjoyed and to comfort people, especially during this difficult time."
March 30 — the day of the robbery — is van Gogh’s birthday. The artist was born in 1890 and died at just 37 years old. 
Given the inability to have patrons at this point, many museums are hosting virtual tours. For those eager to see a van Gogh painting (but not so eager as to steal one), the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam currently has a virtual tour. Other museums encouraging people to visit them online include the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Louvre in Paris, and the National Gallery in London

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