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Mona Lisa: The theft that created a legend

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Story highlights

The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. But why?

Theft over 100 years ago helped catapult artwork to international stardom

Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece now attracts millions of visitors to Louvre

CNN takes you “Inside the Louvre,” building an intimate portrait of a museum like no other. From the handler who looks after the Mona Lisa’s famous smile, to the new director, host Nick Glass meets the people at the heart of Paris’ most renowned institution. Watch the 30-minute special show from Dec 2-4.

CNN —  

Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world?

Her enigmatic smile? The mystery surrounding her identity? The fact she was painted by Renaissance pin-up boy Leonardo da Vinci?

Sure, all of these things helped boost the popularity of the 16th century masterpiece.

But what really catapulted the small, unassuming portrait to international stardom was a daring burglary over 100 years ago.