A painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh has been stolen from a museum which was close due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands was raided overnight.
The museum revealed the news today, and said the thieves struck in the early hours.
The painting ‘Lentetuin’, or ‘Spring Garden’, an 1884 painting showing the spring garden of the rectory at Neunen, had been on loan from the Groninger Museum for an exhibition.
“We are angry, shocked and sad,” Singer general director Evert van Os told a news conference broadcast on YouTube.
The Singer Laren museum
It is not known if any other items were stolen during the robbery though reports suggest the Van Gogh piece was specifically targeted.
The burglars entered the museum around 3.15am local time, according to local reports.
According to Singer Laren, the security acted “entirely according to protocol”.
Vincent Van Gogh in a self portrait
(Image: Getty Images)
Museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said he is “shocked and incredibly p****d off” following the theft, local reports claim.
He said: “This is extremely difficult, especially in these times.”
Theatres, tourist attractions, museums and galleries that draw thousands of visitors every day have closed across the world.
In the UK, the Tate closed its museums and galleries until May 1.
There are four Tate galleries: the Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London, the Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to stay away from pubs, restaurants and large gatherings.
Meanwhile a former Supreme Court justice has warned that the public are displaying “collective hysteria” over coronavirus.
Lord Sumption, who retired as a justice at the UK’s highest court in 2018, hit out at the way that some police forces are interpreting the new rules.
He said: “The pressure on politicians has come from the public, they want action. They don’t pause to ask whether the action will work, they don’t ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying – they want action anyway.
Lord Sumption told Radio 4’s The World At One: “Anyone who has studied history will recognise here the classic symptoms of collective hysteria.
“Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease.”