Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece

Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece

by Noah Charney
     
 

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Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian’s list of the ten most important paintings ever made. Often referred to by the subject of its central panel, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it represents the fulcrum between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is also the most frequently stolen artwork of all time.

Since its completion in

Overview

Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian’s list of the ten most important paintings ever made. Often referred to by the subject of its central panel, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it represents the fulcrum between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is also the most frequently stolen artwork of all time.

Since its completion in 1432, this twelve-panel oil painting has been looted in three different wars, burned, dismembered, forged, smuggled, illegally sold, censored, hidden, attacked by iconoclasts, hunted by the Nazis and Napoleon, used as a diplomatic tool, ransomed, rescued by Austrian double-agents, and stolen a total of thirteen times.

In this fast-paced, real-life thriller, art historian Noah Charney unravels the stories of each of these thefts. In the process, he illuminates the whole fascinating history of art crime, and the psychological, ideological, religious, political, and social motivations that have led many men to covet this one masterpiece above all others.

Editorial Reviews

Almost from its conception, the large-scale 15th century Van Eyck altarpiece in Ghent, Belgium was plagued by problems. Hubert Van Eyck began the project in the early 1420s, but he died before this ambitious project of 12 panels and 24 compartmented scenes could reach fruition. After his 1426 demise, the work was taken up and completed by younger brother Jan. But, as Noah Charney's new book shows, the travails of this Middle Ages masterpiece had just begun. In century after century, the so-called Adoration of the Mystic Lamb was dismembered, hidden, looted, pawned, mutilated, stolen, smuggled, ransomed, burned, forged, and used as war reparations. In fact, this incomparable panel painting holds the dubious distinction of being the most stolen artwork of all time. A subject even more captivating than the author's novel The Art Thief.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586488000
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A brisk tale of true-life heroism, villainy, artistry and passion." —-Kirkus

Meet the Author

Noah Charney is the author of the international bestselling novel The Art Thief and the founding director of The Association for Research into Crimes against Art, an international non-profit think tank. His work in the field of art crime has been praised in such forums as The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, BBC Radio, and NPR. Currently professor of art history at the American University of Rome, he lives in Italy with his wife.

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