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This Day in the Arts: March 18

1844:

Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, known for his fine orchestrations, is born.

1990:

At 1:24 a.m. on March 18, 1990, two men dressed as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where they stole 13 works of art, including three Rembrandts, five drawings by Degas, and a portrait by Manet. The investigation into the crime has focused on everyone from local Boston mobsters to a Scotland Yard informant to the IRA.

CNN reports that the estimated worth of the stolen pieces is around $300 million; USA Today and others list the price tag at $500 million. In 2009, the crime was featured on America's Most Wanted, and, in 2010, the FBI began using billboard space to advertise the $5 million reward for for information leading to the recovery of the stolen artworks. But, the case remains unsolved, and the crime investigation is still active.

Isabella Stewart Gardner, one of the country's foremost patrons of the arts and an avid Red Sox fan, opened her vast art collection to the public in 1903. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's collection now contains more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books, and decorative arts.


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