GirlHacker's Random Log

almost daily since 1999

Renaissance Fakes


The Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art contains 3,000 items, many from the Renaissance. After its acquisition in 1969 and display in the Robert Lehman Wing in 1975, the museum began cataloging the collection, publishing what is now a 15 volume set of books that categorize and describe the objects. The final volume is titled “Decorative Arts” and amongst the snuffboxes, ceramics, furniture, and porcelain are 49 Renaissance and Mannerist jewels. However Charles Truman, author of the chapter covering those jewels and jeweled objects, decided 34 did not live up to their supposed provenance. This discovery, says the Wall Street Journal, will “cause consternation and controversy” as it reinforces that there are more fakes sitting around ready to be revealed. Truman recounts the history of the peak of Renaissance forgeries, which of course matched a peak in demand in the era in which the Lehman family amassed their collection. Perhaps the most egregious forgery tale from Truman is of antiques dealer Salomon Weininger who in 1860 was hired to restore objects from Vienna’s Holy Treasury.  He replaced the items with copies and kept the real ones. I suppose that’s one way to perfectly restore something from the 1400s.

Posted in craft