How in the modern world fake antique art
The problem of fraud exists for millennia. George Vasari – the author of the famous “Lives of the most famous painters, sculptors and architects,” spoke about the amazing case of a fake from Michelangelo Buonarroti himself. True, it occurred at the very beginning of the career of the famous master. Having sculpted the Sleeping Cupid statue, a young and enterprising sculptor secretly drove her far beyond the city and buried it in the ground. After some time, he “accidentally” discovered the “ancient monument” and very successfully sold it.
Today, the falsification of works of art is a whole science and also a kind of art section. After all, fraudsters are in any case talented artists, since they are able to reproduce the creative style of a recognized genius. The easiest way to copy the work of modern masters – there is no need to “grow old” canvases, because experts today are armed with a variety of technical devices and methods for accurate dating. However, the falsifiers are not badly sewn. In the event that the paintings are issued for the old, their sophistication simply admires. Here are just some ways from this arsenal:
– Using vintage canvases. In order for the canvas and subframe not to cause experts to doubt, not very valuable paintings of the same period are bought. The layer of paint is carefully peeled off, and on the resulting historical basis a new masterpiece is written, already from a famous master.
– Careful selection of colors, corresponding to the era. The fact is that the colors over time have greatly changed from completely natural to synthetic. These falsifiers are not too lazy to find out exactly what dyes used by one or another artist and reproduce it very accurately. Sometimes it is possible to get art materials of the right period, but in the case of the oldest paintings, paints have to be made by hand from natural materials in the same way as the artists did.
– A careful study of the artist’s manner. In addition to the visual effect of the picture should have signs of “master’s hands.” The length and structure of the stroke, the features of the sketch (modern research methods make it possible to see the picture in layers). So, for example, it is known that Aivazovsky spent at least 2 horizon lines in coal – meeting the sky with the sea and changing the shade, and Vereshchagin often drew pictures on the grid from his own sketches. Although most often the grid under the picture is a sign of a fake – before the era of digital printing, it was used to obtain an exact copy of the contours.
– Aging picture. Special furnaces are used here. The remake heats up to a certain temperature, after which it is covered with a network of cracks-craquelure, adding to the picture of authenticity. For even more convincing, the masters of deception can even reproduce dust, which over the centuries should settle in these cracks. The role of “age-old sediments” performs Chinese ink. It is first applied to an already aged picture, and then washed off. Craquelure remain filled with “artificial dust.”
In addition to the unique technicality of the falsifiers, I invent various schemes and scenarios for “introducing” the product of my activities into the market. It also requires incredible imagination and skill, now of a different kind. Therefore, there are many ways to this type of fraud.
This, the most well-known method of deception, is by far not the most popular, since thanks to the general informatization it has become easier to trace the fate of each painting. However, this market is still thriving. One of the most frequently forged masters are considered Russian avant-garde. In addition, they are popular with the falsifiers of the works of Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Franz Marc, Gustav Klimt and Paul Gauguin.
For such fakes requires a completely unique skill and, of course, a huge talent. In addition to creating an unknown masterpiece in the author’s manner, the falsifiers in this case require a convincing legend for their offspring. For this, changes are made to the archive data and historical sources, sometimes relatives of artists are bribed. Such efforts in case of success pay off huge profits.
Perhaps the most famous example of such fraud is the painting Christ in Emmaus, written by Vermeer, a compatriot of the great artist. Han van Mergeren managed to give out some of his canvases to the previously unknown canvases of the famous Dutchman and even sell them to Goering himself (this happened in the middle of the 20th century).