“There is nothing more painful in this world than to see an original work of art or a reproduction thereof mutilated,” says Dr. Daniela Rossi, who teaches art history at Harvard. The quote comes from the abstract of a paper she read at a conference in New Orleans earlier this year, and it led me to the blog that Rossi maintains with Dr. Stefano Ponte, an Italian art historian.
Titled Animal Crossing Real Art – The Blog About Art Theft, it’s a compendium of stories about art theft and restoration. Most of the posts focus on specific instances of theft; some deal with public policy issues relating to art theft; others give lessons on how to distinguish real from fake works of art—something that’s especially important to museums, which are often targets.
An example of the latter is “The Name Game: Collecting Artworks with ‘fakes’ in their Name,” in which Rossi describes how “differences between genuine and fake copies are not always obvious.” In fact, she says, “the names are sometimes more reliable than the images.”
Rossi explains by means of a recent theft from the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona
It is difficult to determine the value of an individual piece of art. This is because it is also difficult to find out where every piece of art is located. The internet has made this task easier and more people are beginning to take note.
The average person has a general idea about how much their own artwork is worth. They may be surprised to learn that there are a number of collectors who will pay millions for a single painting. Most people know about the theft in Boston that netted thieves five paintings valued at $500 million dollars. What many don’t realize is that, on average, one piece of artwork goes missing every day.
The question one should ask themselves when buying a new piece of art is not whether it will look good above the couch, but whether it will be stealable. If you want to test your own security measures, try leaving your artwork in plain sight and see if anyone takes it. A gallery owner recently opened an exhibition and included several valuable pieces in the show. He was shocked when they were stolen during the opening reception.
This blog was created to help track down those works of art that have been stolen, so that they can be returned to their owners. There are websites devoted to locating lost pets and even missing persons; all we ask
Art theft is a serious problem, and the FBI has taken it very seriously. The FBI has been fighting art crime since the 1930s, when it was known as the “Fraud Squad.” It was only in 2001 that the FBI formed its Art Crime Team, which today includes representatives from numerous FBI departments, including the New York Office, Boston Division, and Los Angeles Field Office.
Treating art theft as a serious offense dates back to the formation of Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization). Today, Interpol maintains a Stolen Works of Art database that contains information on over 92,000 stolen works.
The FBI does not keep statistics on stolen art. However, an Australian researcher at Monash University studied art thefts between 1895 and 2006 and found that there were about 5,000 major cases every year. The estimated losses totaled $6 billion.
The FBI estimates that up to 85% of all stolen art is taken from private homes by thieves who gain access by misrepresenting themselves or using force. Major thefts can be traced back to organized crime rings that have disreputable collectors on their payrolls who purchase the pieces at auction houses or through private dealers.
Some criminals have even attempted to sell entire collections under their own names – and succeeded!
The real art is the art that we don’t see. This includes all of the art that has been lost and destroyed throughout history, as well as the art that hasn’t been made yet because artists don’t have the inspiration or resources. All of those paintings, sculptures, drawings, poems, dances and other works of art wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for true art.
Truly great art can reach beyond any language barrier and capture the very essence of human experience. It can outlast all kinds of governments, leaders and regimes. It can even transcend time itself. While some people might think that this kind of work is self-indulgent or narcissistic, I think it reveals how connected we really are to one another and to the universe.
¶The good news is that there is still much good art in our world. We do not have to look very hard to find it; we just have to open our eyes and stop missing it…”
¶ Art theft is a global problem that deserves greater attention from all people who care about preserving our cultural heritage.”
The art of the Italian Renaissance has been a popular subject for countless artists and students since the dawn of the Renaissance itself. The most well-known Renaissance paintings, however, were not always originally produced as art works. Many were instead commissioned by wealthy families as portraits of their loved ones. The owner of the painting would then display it in his home, just like any other piece of artwork, rather than hide it away in a private collection.
Artist Jan van Eyck created one such painting for Giovanni Arnolfini and his new wife Giovanna Cenami. In 1434, Jan van Eyck traveled to Italy and spent some time in France before finally settling in Bruges, a city located in what is now Belgium. There he established himself as a painter and married his wife’s sister. In 1434 he was commissioned to create a portrait for Arnolfini’s marriage to Giovanna Cenami by Giovanni Arnolfini and his new wife Giovanna Cenami in 1434. Giovanni Arnolfini had become successful selling wool to England, which gave him enough wealth to afford the commissioning of a portrait of himself and his bride to be. Van Eyck traveled to Italy sometime after March 1433, when he was officially named court
When we look at art and imagine ourselves as the artist, we are seeing something that may or may not be there. It’s an illusion that our own future is a painterly landscape of creativity with us at the center, our brushstrokes already imagined in our mind’s eye and waiting to be created in reality.
Taste is the eye-catching cover. But it’s not the most important factor. The most important part of artistic genius is actually one of the least sexy parts—the ability to sit there for hours and hours, day after day, year after year, simply turning out paintings, sculptures or sketches.
Taste can be faked. Intensity cannot.
It is an amazing feeling, to be able to create something that people all over the world will enjoy. It is a feeling that I am sure most of us have had at some point in our lives. But when it comes to video games and movies, their creators are nothing more than a bunch of paid workers who are there for the purpose of creating these things. So, why do we get so emotional about an artist’s death?
I would like to take a moment to talk about the loss of one of Nintendo’s greatest game designers and artists, Satoru Iwata. For those who don’t know, Iwata was president of Nintendo until he died this past July from cancer. Iwata was a part of Nintendo since the 1980s, where he started as a programmer for games like Earthbound and Balloon Fight. He would later become president of the company in 2002, where he would be responsible for many great Wii games such as Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart Wii.
And while his job was primarily making commercialized games, he also loved making experimental games that were primarily made for himself and his team members to play around with. Some examples are Balloon Trip Breeze, Pushmo and Inazuma Eleven Go Galaxy. These