Art Works in “The Art Thief”

TNL read a book. Wow. You don’t say.

The stuff I read at work or even after work is classified under “To Do”.

Didn’t some one once said, “Oh, you are a librarian, ah? So you like to read lah” ? Reading has become such a part of my professional life that getting the time to sit down and read for the sake of pure, unadulterated joy is an absolute indulgence.

So with the slight lull, I sunk myself into a work of fiction titled “The Art Thief” written by Noah Charney, a “leading expert on the history and study of art crime”.

Like all fussy readers, I abhor a badly-told story. I either stop reading it or let the book tell me if I should continue for the sake of the information it is going to give me (so, technically, it is no longer reading).

In the case of our good Mr Charney, I carried on. The story involves a stolen piece of Caravaggio from a church in Italy. Then, a Suprematist piece gets swiped from the Malevich Society ( In comes, Gabriel Coffin, “a renowned scholar and consultant to police on art theft.” Got you thinking of Da Vinci Code, right?

Well, a Da Vinci Code, it ain’t.

I did enjoy the little bits of information Mr Charney plonks all over the book. He tells us about art crime (“most crimes are perpetrated by organized crime syndicates”), art auctions, art forgery, symbolism and iconography. He uses Bible verses as “teasers” and repeats “one thief was saved” a few times.

So fine, it isn’t the best story ever but you know, when it comes to art, TNL is hooked, lined and sinkered. I started looking up the art works described in the story. Yah, I am kinda anal that way.

Here are some of the art works mentioned in the book. Enjoy putting the visuals to the text.

Annunciation by Caravaggio

Suprematist Composition White on White by Kasimir Malevich

Other Malevich abstracts:
Black Square

Suprematism with Blue Triangle and Black Rectangle

Lady Margaret Beaufort at prayer by Rowland Lockney

The Marriage Contract by Jan Van Eyck

Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck

Paintings stolen from Isabella Gardner Museum

Bar at the Folies-Bergeres by Manet

Tapestry of the story of Joseph designed by Bronzino for Cosimo de Medici
Saint Jerome in his study by Albrect Durer

Knight, Death and the Devil by Albrect Durer

Melencolia I by Albrecht Durer (click on the image to enlarge to see the numbers described in Chapter 29)

Allegory of Love and Lust (sic) by Bronzino

The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein

Now, don’t these make it a nice little ride?

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