Uneviably dubbed the "most stolen" artwork of all time, Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, also known as the Ghent Altarpiece, was painted in 1432 for St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium.
The 12-panelled masterpiece by the Van Eyck brothers has attracted a lot of unwanted attention over the centuries.
In the early 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly delivered the masterpiece to the Louvre in Paris, and it was only returned to Ghent after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
In 1940, it was sent to the Vatican for safekeeping during World War II but only made it as far as a museum in Pau, France. Two years later, Adolf Hitler seized the iconic artwork and it was stored in an Austrian salt mine. In 1945, it was recovered by a team from the Allied countries' Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program, and returned to Belgium.
The theft-prone masterpiece received a new €30 million ($35m/£26m) bulletproof home in 2021. However, it's too late for one portion of the painting: the lower left panel of the Altarpiece was stolen in April 1934 from the St Bavo Cathedral and remains lost to this day.
A ransom demand for one million Belgian francs was made at the time but the authorities refused to pay. A possible culprit, Arsène Goedertier, confessed to the theft on his deathbed in December 1934 but refused to reveal where he had hidden the painting.
It remains missing and is presumed destroyed. Now protected in its bulletproof case, the Belgian authorities can only hope that the remainder of the Altarpiece doesn't go walkabouts again.