THE DARK ART - Ancient and Modern Forgery September 19 2018, 0 Comments

We believed. We were betrayed. We were conned. Experts were fooled. Our trust stolen. Our commitment challenged. From Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, through the European Renaissance to Modern Art, the art of forgery endures.

The Meidum Geese painting, called "Egypt's Mona Lisa" purportedly painted between 2610 and 2590 B.C. and found in the tomb of Pharaoh Nefermaat, might be a fake. It could be nothing more than an elaborate forgery, created in the 19th century.

The authenticity of the bust of Nefritti has been called into question.


It's understood that the ancient Romans copied ancient Greek art. One empire did not forge another empire's art work. Comparing Greek art to Roman art, Rebecca Warner concludes in her article in Quora that “Greek art was more sophisticated in form, and much Roman art consisted of copies of Greek art". Fortunately, for posterity, the Diana of Versailles is a marble statue of the Greek goddess Artemis (Latin: Diana), and is a Roman copy (1st or 2nd century AD) of a lost Greek bronze original 325 BC.The Jennings Dog is a 2nd-century AD Roman copy of a Hellenistic bronze original, probably of the 2nd century BC.  

La Bella Principessa

In A Forger’s Tale, convicted forger Shaun Greenhalgh’s memoir, he reveals that he drew Leonardo da Vinci’s La Bella Principessa, which has been valued upwards of US$100 million. With commitment and talent, it seems that art forgery isn't difficult to do. Many have been duped.


authentic Giacometti -  Le Nez                                                       forged Giacometti - Walking Man

Robert Driessen, forger of Alberto Giacometti  reveals how he became an expert in replicating the artist's works.

Forger John Myatt, was imprisoned in 1995, but not before he sold 200 works in the style of Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall as originals to auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's. In 2008 after his release he launched an exhibition at Harrods of his  "Masters-inspired" paintings.

Forgery is an immense global enterprise. The court case which led to the downfall of the 150 year old Knoedler Gallery, revealed forged art works of Abstract Expressionists Rothko, Pollock, Motherwell, Diebenkorn and De Kooning. An article in ArtNews exposed the behind-the-scenes activities of the New York gallery.

in Sotheby’s scientific research department

In a New York Times article by Anita Gates, Where Art Forgeries Meet Their Match
we understand that forgers should never wear synthetic fibres, and they should know how to sign the artist's name correctly.

My explorations into the concept of "the Other" in the history of art continues with this blog post, and the next...