3. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn
Another painting stolen during the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist was The Storm of the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn, and like the missing Vermeer it is also amongst the most valuable missing artworks in the world.
Depicting Jesus and the miracle of calming the Sea of Galilee specifically as it is described in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, this 1633 oil on canvas is believed to be Rembrandt’s only seascape, which only added to its value.
In addition to Rembrandt’s seascape the thieves also made of with a self portrait etching and another 1633 oil on canvas titled A Lady and Gentleman in Black. However, the authorship of this painting has been hotly debated.
In 1987, the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) disattributed the work, considering it a product of the artist’s workshop. However, the RRP re-attributed the painting to Rembrandt again in its corpus published in 2015, in which it is called Portrait of a couple in an interior.
A glimmer of hope arose in 2013 when the FBI claimed that they knew the culprits of the crime and that the theft was carried out by a gang rather than one individual. Despite this announcement, no evidence has been produced and no more information has been forthcoming.
Another curious development occurred in 1994 when the museum received and anonymous letter where the author claimed to know where the art was, and that it was safe in a ‘controlled environment’. The author requested $2.6 million for facilitating the return of the artworks, to which the museum agree.
Soon after, they received a second letter where the author worried about being arrested by the authorities for being ‘the middle man’. No subsequent letters were received and the lead went cold. To this day there is a $5 million reward for information in relation to the robbery.
Enjoy the complete works of Rembrandt here