Vincent van Gogh once said, “The diseases that we civilized people labour under most are melancholy and pessimism.”
Perhaps the COVID-19 disease should be added to that list, after thieves laboured through a coronavirus lockdown in the Netherlands to steal one of van Gogh’s paintings from an art museum.
The artwork was stolen Monday from the Singer Laren museum outside of Amsterdam, according to Netherlands Police. The thieves smashed a glass door to get into the museum at around 3:15 a.m., police said. The break-in triggered an alarm but the thieves had already escaped by the time police showed up.
The painting was called Spring Garden, the vicarage garden in Nuenen in the spring. It was at the museum on loan from another museum in the area.
The museum has been closed since March 12 amid sweeping lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Netherlands.
“I’m shocked and unbelievably annoyed that this has happened,” said Jan Rudolph de Lorm, Singer Laren museum director, in a statement.
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Evert van Os, the museum’s general director, said he was “angry, shocked, sad” to learn of the theft.
Police are appealing to nearby residents for security footage of the incident.
Van Gogh, who struggled with mental illness throughout his life, was staying with his parents when he painted Spring Garden in Nuenen in 1884. He was 31 years old at the time.
The value of the painting is unknown.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
—With files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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