Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3 | Answers

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous artists in the world. His paintings are very popular and they often sell for lots of money. The Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands borrowed a Van Gogh painting for an exhibition. It is common for paintings to travel to different museums so more people can see them. Museums work together to lend paintings and other important items.

The Singer Laren museum was closed on March 12 because of the coronavirus crisis. It is uncertain whether the thieves were trying to take advantage of the virus situation. On the night of March 30, the Van Gogh painting was stolen. The thieves were able to break into the museum and steal the painting within a few minutes. The manager of the museum said their security worked normally. The thieves must have been very skilled. They knew the painting that they wanted and they disappeared as soon as they got it.

Many Van Gogh paintings have been stolen before. In total, 28 Van Gogh paintings have been stolen in The Netherlands but they have all been found. Some of them were found after a few weeks and others were found after many years. It is very difficult to hide famous paintings and all famous stolen paintings are added to a special watchlist. If any of the paintings are seen, then it is very easy for the police to find them.

Difficult Words

Exhibition (n): A public showing of special objects.

Crisis (n): A difficult or dangerous time.

Advantage (n): Something that makes things better or easier for you.

Disappeared (v): To be gone.

Watchlist (n): A list of things to look out for.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

 1. Exhibition  A. Benefit
 2. Crisis  B. Gone
 3. Advantage  C. Display
 4. Disappeared  D. Things to look for.
 5. Watchlist  E. Problem

True or False?

1. Not many people know Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. T / F

2. The painting was stolen from a person’s home. T / F

3. Museums often lend famous paintings to each other. T / F

4. The thieves took days to steal the painting. T / F

5. Van Gogh paintings have been stolen before. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. one / Vincent Van Gogh / most / artists / of / is / the / famous

2. is / It / common / to / travel / museums / to / different / for paintings

3. paintings / to / work / Museums / lend / together

4. to / The / thieves / into / the museum / break / were able

5. very / skilled / The / been / have / thieves / must

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Famous Skilled Important
Uncertain Stolen Paintings

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most (1)_____________ artists in the world. His paintings are very popular and they often sell for lots of money. The Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands borrowed a Van Gogh painting for an exhibition. It is common for paintings to travel to different museums so more people can see them. Museums work together to lend paintings and other (2)_____________ items.

The Singer Laren museum was closed on March 12 because of the coronavirus crisis. It is (3)___________ whether the thieves were trying to take advantage of the virus situation. On the night of March 30, the Van Gogh painting was stolen. The thieves were able to break into the museum and steal the painting within a few minutes. The manager of the museum said their security worked normally. The thieves must have been very (4)____________. They knew the painting that they wanted and they disappeared as soon as they got it.

Many Van Gogh paintings have been (5)___________ before. In total, 28 Van Gogh paintings have been stolen in The Netherlands but they have all been found. Some of them were found after a few weeks and others were found after many years. It is very difficult to hide famous paintings and all famous stolen (6)__________ are added to a special watchlist. If any of the paintings are seen, then it is very easy for the police to find them.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you have a favourite museum?
5. Do you have a favourite painting?
6. Do you have a favourite artist?
7. Are museums popular in your country?
8. Does your country have many famous artists? If so, who?
9. Do you think the Mona Lisa should be the most famous painting in the world?
10. Should the Mona Lisa be returned to Italy?
11. How important is art to human culture?
12. Should museums and art galleries be free to enter?
13. Do you think this Van Gogh painting will be found?
14. What punishment should the thieves receive if they are caught?
15. How can museums better protect their items during the coronavirus lockdown?
16. Is there a museum that you would like to visit in the future?
17. Is there any art that you don’t like?
18. Have there been any art thefts in your country?
19. Do you think paintings are worth the prices they sell for?
20. What famous artist would you most like to meet?