Sunday, June 7, 2009

Seeing what you want to see: The Van Meegeren Vermeer Fiasco

Before jumping into some of the hijinks I've been up to lately, I thought I would share a fascinating series of articles that explore the psychology that goes into art forgery. Errol Morris, the famous filmmaker and all around genius, put together a series of pieces in the New York Times titled "Bamboozling Ourselves." He delves into the story of Van Meegeren, the infamous Dutch art forger and Nazi-enthusiast, who pulled the wool over the eyes of some of the most influential VIPs of the 1930s and 40s by selling them never before seen Vermeer pieces. That is, they were never before seen until he painted them himself (picture right). Morris includes interviews with two authors who've penned newly released books on the subject, along with lengthy discussion of the psychology that goes into successful forgery and how Van Meegeren's plans fell apart. You'll get theory, graphs, and detailed image comparisons of the Vermeer and Van Meegeren pieces. Basically, this 7-part series provides all the things you need to feel smart and sound smart at your next BBQ. Enjoy!

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