The Forger's Spell
A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth CenturyeBook - 2009
From Library Staff
The true story of three men and an extraordinary deception: the revered artist Johannes Vermeer; the small-time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him years later; and the con man's mark, Hermann Goering, the fanatical art collector and one of Nazi Germany's most reviled leaders.
From the critics
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"During its brief reign, [the forged 'Vermeer'] "Christ at Emmaus" was the picture of the year, for several years running, Dutch art lovers, laymen and connoisseurs alike, embraced "Emmaus" because this three-centuries-old picture resonated so powerfully with their own tastes and values. It resonated not because [the forger] Van Meegeren cynically catered to tastes he scorned. On the contrary, "Emmaus" embodied precisely those qualities - mystery, stillness, piety, sobriety, modesty - that both Van Meegeren and his audiences esteemed the most. ... That newer vision of Jesus moved Van Meegeren and the Dutch nearly to tears. "Death seems truly conquered here, clad in mystery and full of promise", one critic marveled. It seems almost blasphemous to say so, but if the real [17th century painter] Vermeer had been moved to paint "Emmaus", art lovers in the 1930s might still have preferred Van Meegeren's overblown and sentimental version to the real thing." (p. 220-221)
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