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

By Noah Charney (St John's 2003)
PublicAffairs / The Perseus Books Group

From the author of the bestselling novel The Art Thief, this gripping true-crime thriller traces the gripping, six-century history of the world's most-stolen masterpiece.

Jan van Eyck's "Ghent Altarpiece" is on any art historian's list of the ten most important paintings ever made. 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, 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, acclaimed art historian Noah Charney unravels the fascinating stories of each of these crimes. Charney also explores psychological dramas that lurk within the history of art crime - and the ideological, religious, political and social motivations that have led many men to covet this one masterpiece above all others.Publication date: 2010
ISBN Number 9781610390965


Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art WorldEdited by Noah Charney (St John's 2003)
Greenwood Press

Through the use of case examples and careful examination, this book presents the first interdisciplinary essay collection on the study of art crime, and its effect on all aspects of the art world. 

Contributors discuss art crime subcategories, including vandalism, iconoclasm, forgery, fraud, peace-time theft, war looting, archaeological looting, smuggling, submarine looting, and ransom. The contributors offer insightful analyses coupled with specific practical suggestions to implement in the future to prevent and address art crime. This work is of critical importance to anyone involved in the art world, its trade, study, and security.Art crime has received relatively little attention from those who study art to those who prosecute crimes. Indeed, the general public is not well-aware of the various forms of art crime and its impact on society at large, to say nothing of museums, history, and cultural affairs. And yet it involves a multi-billion dollar legitimate industry, with a conservatively-estimated $6 billion annual criminal profit.

Since the Second World War, art crime has evolved from a relatively innocuous crime, into the third highest-grossing annual criminal trade worldwide, run primarily by organized crime syndicates, and therefore funding their other enterprises, from the drug and arms trades to terrorism. It is no longer merely the art that is at stake.Publication date: 2009
ISBN Number 9780313366352


The Thefts of the Mona Lisa
by Noah Charney

Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait, called the Mona Lisa, is without doubt the world’s most famous painting. It achieved its fame not only because it is a remarkable example of Renaissance portraiture, created by an acclaimed artistic and scientific genius, but because of its criminal history. The Mona Lisa (also called La Gioconda or La Joconde) was stolen on 21 August 1911 by an Italian, Vincenzo Peruggia. Peruggia was under the mistaken impression that the Mona Lisa had been stolen from Italy during the Napoleonic era, and he wished to take back for Italy one of his country’s greatest treasures. His successful theft of the painting from the Louvre, the farcical manhunt that followed, and Peruggia’s subsequent trial in Florence were highly publicized, sparking the attention of the international media, and catapulting an already admired painting into stratospheric heights of fame. This book tells the art and criminal history of the Mona Lisa. This extended essay in book form, prepared to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1911 theft, examines the criminal biography of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, with a focus on separating fact from fiction in the story of what is not only the most famous art heist in history, but which is the single most famous theft of all time. In the process this book also tells of Leonardo’s creation of the Mona Lisa, discusses why it is so famous, and investigates two other events in its history of theft and renown. First, it examines the so-called “affaire des statuettes,” in which Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire were arrested under suspicion of involvement in the theft of the Mona Lisa. Second, there has long been a question as to whether the Nazis stole the Mona Lisa during the Second World War—a question that this book seeks to resolve. This book provides a strong introduction to the Mona Lisa and the thefts surrounding it. “Noah Charney is the Sherlock Holmes of art theft. Beyond his great sleuthing prowess, he writes with the simple grace of a novelist and the erudition of a scholar. Here his subject could be no more dramatic: the impossible-but-true story of the most famous of all paintings, the Mona Lisa. It is a tale that bounces along, implicating the likes of Apollinaire, Picasso, the Nazis, and Nat King Cole. It is easy to pick up and very hard to put down.” -Mark Lamster, author of Master of Shadows: the Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens "Deftly written and riveting to read." -Sidney Kirkpatrick, author of Hitler's Holy Relics “Few writers have brought the issue of art theft to the fore with the fervor of Noah Charney. With The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting, Charney has created a work that is equal parts lucid art history and thrilling true crime. Both the popular myths and the hidden truths surrounding the theft and recovery of Leonardo’s seminal work provide art theft investigators and museum security directors with important lessons for solving—and preventing—art crime today.” -Anthony Amore, art theft and security expert and author of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists All profits from the sale of the print edition of this book support the charitable activities of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, an international non-profit research group on art crime and cultural heritage protection.


Since a large part of our learning process depends on how we use our minds as well as  our brushes and paints, we will post books , articles, and links that bear on what we are studying. Plato said that the arts begin in the mind, so let's keep up!

This book on color is a good companion for the study of basic theory:

Available on Amazon, new and used.



The Art Spirit
By Robert Henri

Scan ART INSTRUCTIONThis small book is required reading for all new  BB&P Atelier students.Available new or used on Amazon.



Both old and new students will note that your Instructor has repeatedly praised Robert Hughes  as the best art critic of the last 50 years.

This book is a must for any thinking artist or art lover.


Vasari's Lives Of The Artists

This classic is a must for any student who wants to delve into original sources for information on the great artists of the Italian Renaissance.

Amazon has it for $8.95 new.


by Anita Albus

This is the finest, most thoughtful, and complete work I have ever read.
As Levi-Strauss wrote of it:

"This book enchants me with its revelations. I do not think anyone has ever succeeded so well in making it clear that - contrary to popular belief - painting does not consist of taking three-dimensional objects  and representing them in a two-dimensional way, but rather in the transformation of three- dimensional objects into another object which also has three dimensions - namely, the picture itself."

SQAL3WV7dRrDNAaFaQwMSfn52cUMGSUlBVb6-qnJFXqZuYnpqcW6ibmJVfl5esn5ufoQEX1PfVPDVIMiD88k9yofvayCdAYGAA**By Siri Hustvedt

Nine essays on the significance of particular works of art, replete with original insights and a few startling discoveries.

A really good read.


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