Read Het Lam Gods: 's werelds meest begeerde meesterwerk. Het Gents altaarstuk van Van Eyk by Noah Charney Roelof Posthuma Online


Geschiedenis van het Gents altaarstuk 'Het lam Gods'.Verdwenen, buitgemaakt in drie verschillende oorlogen, door brand bedreigd, uit elkaar gehaald, gekopieerd, vervalst, gesmokkeld, illegaal verkocht, gecensureerd, aangevallen door beeldenstormers, verborgen, vrijgekocht, gered en keer op keer gestolen... sinds het Gentse altaarstuk in 1432 door Van Eyck werd voltooid, isGeschiedenis van het Gents altaarstuk 'Het lam Gods'.Verdwenen, buitgemaakt in drie verschillende oorlogen, door brand bedreigd, uit elkaar gehaald, gekopieerd, vervalst, gesmokkeld, illegaal verkocht, gecensureerd, aangevallen door beeldenstormers, verborgen, vrijgekocht, gered en keer op keer gestolen... sinds het Gentse altaarstuk in 1432 door Van Eyck werd voltooid, is geen kunstwerk zo belaagd en begeerd als Het Lam Gods. Volgens sommige bewonderaars scholen in het werk schatten van tastbare aard, anderen zagen er filosofische en theologische waarheden in over de menselijke staat en de aard van het Opperwezen. Enkelen schreven het een concrete macht toe en dachten dat ontcijfering van het schilderij de loop van de Tweede Wereldoorlog kon veranderen. Weer anderen vonden juist dat de symbolische macht van het werk zo'n groot gevaar vormde dat het maar beter verwoest kon worden. En als u vandaag de dag voor het schilderij staat en het in al zijn pracht bewondert, weet u dan zeker dat u naar het origineel kijkt?...

Title : Het Lam Gods: 's werelds meest begeerde meesterwerk. Het Gents altaarstuk van Van Eyk
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789024531110
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 366 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Het Lam Gods: 's werelds meest begeerde meesterwerk. Het Gents altaarstuk van Van Eyk Reviews

  • Becky
    2019-04-27 06:24

    Frankly, if you are interested in art history than this is a fantastic work. You don’t get much more fantastical than the story of the Mystic Lamb, the most stolen piece of art in the world.I felt that the pacing was correct for the work. The author spent a good amount of time detailing the creation and important of the Mystic Lamb, the mystery shrouding its painting/signature, and then proceeded to tell as much of the story as he could. Naturally the largest section was that of WWII, when there was more going on, so many different people in so many different roles, and it’s the most easily identifiable journey that the Lamb took.I don’t know if I would recommend it to just anyone, but anyone with an interest in art history shouldn’t pass this book up!

  • Tina
    2019-05-21 09:08

    Stealing the Mystic Lamb is an account of the many crimes perpetrated against the Ghent Alterpiece, also known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. This book represents exactly the kind of non-fiction I don't enjoy. Rather than the "riveting narrative" claimed on the back of the book, I found Mystic Lamb to be a a dry, and sometimes repetitious, presentation of facts. The detailed description of the piece and background history of Jan van Eyck, the artist, and the city of Ghent became tedious to me. I kept plowing forward hoping the narrative would become more engaging when I got to the thefts. However, I finally lost my patience when I reached page 79 and the story of the first theft was set to begin. Instead, the author regressed into a primer on the French Revolution. For what I think was the third time, Charney decided it would be "useful" to digress into a history lesson before coming to his point. I come from a history background, but was frustrated that the topic the book promised to address had still not come to the forefront. Unfortunately, I have too many book on my TBR pile to continue slogging through Stealing the Mystic Lamb hoping for an engaging story. A true art historian may find Stealing the Mystic Lamb a fascinating read, but I'm leaving this book unfinished.

  • Ms.pegasus
    2019-05-02 14:08

    STEALING THE MYSTIC LAMB is a scholarly work wrapped in sheep's clothing. Even the opening chapter might well serve as the précis to a grant application. The book is dense with details and judiciously presents numerous contradictory hypotheses surrounding a succession of thefts in the long history of the eponymous “Mystic Lamb,” a barn-sized folding set of painted oak panels also know as the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.Charney is at his best, however, in the role of art historian. He explains in detail the construction and iconography of Van Eyck's masterpiece, and he succeeds where many an entire semester of classroom lectures frequently fail: Imbuing an appreciation for both van Eyck's aesthetic achievement and the historical significance of the work. The altarpiece is awe-inspiring both in size and detail. It consists of 20 oak panels painted on both sides during the years between 1426 and 1432. It was normally displayed closed; and opened only for special occasions, further engendering a sense of reverence in the viewer. The medieval iconography is combined with a humanist interest in realistic form, perspective, and portraiture. Its execution in oil paint rather than egg tempera allowed a translucent depth of color and filigree of detail which were augmented rather than superseded by the medieval technique of gold leaf. “The result is a visual feast, a galaxy of painterly special effects that at once dazzle and provide days of viewing interest, prompting viewers to examine the painting from afar and up close, to decipher as well as to bask in its beauty.” Readers should examine the website as they read the initial chapters of the book. The website displays individual panels of the altarpiece in the detail needed to follow Charney's descriptions. Charney is a gifted writer able to conjure a sense of the waning medieval world of the Ghent Altarpiece with its aura of religious miracle in the midst of reconciliation with a world of burgeoning Renaissance scholasticism. So great is his ability to captivate the reader that we feel a soul-piercing anguish as he relates the turmoil of the Reformation which repeatedly threatened the masterpiece's destruction. In 1566, only a little over a century after the altarpiece's completion, Calvinist rioters attempted to destroy the work – in their eyes an example of Catholic “idolatry.” Only the quick-thinking initiative of some anonymous guards who hid the work saved it from destruction.The second story told here is one of art crime. How many of you knew the Louvre owed its founding to Napoleon's sweep across Europe? Artwork from his European conquests were channeled back to Paris. Successive wars, the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II, dictated the flow of pillaged artwork between France and Germany, with much of it being bought by British and American collectors. Charney's historical research on World War II is of particular note. He mentions the Mystic Lamb's abduction to Alt Aussee, by the Germans. Alt Aussee was a salt mine converted into a state-of-the-art warehouse for much of the artwork seized by the Nazis. The military commander of the region, August Eigruber, was determined to destroy the mine and its contents should the Nazis be forced to retreat by the Allied forces. Charney details the Lamb's miraculous rescue due to the efforts of two separate groups, the Monuments Men attached to Patton's 3rd Army, and a confederacy of Austrian freedom fighters, civilian miners led by Alois Raudaschl and Emmerich Pöchmuller and Hermann Michel, and a British double agent named Albrecht Gaiswinkler. A movie called Monuments Men will be released in 2014, and I will be interested in seeing if any of the Alt Aussee events or Americans George Stout and Lincoln Kirstein (both described in Charney's book) are portrayed in the movie.Anyone interested in art history will be both enlightened and dismayed by the details of this book.

  • Patricia
    2019-04-26 11:57

    This is an excellent look at the history of art theft told by looking at the incredible history of one monumental painting, Jan Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece, also knowns as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. Charney must be a wonderful professor; he makes this story read like a novel and keeps you riveted up until the very end. I read this as a "train book" and nearly missed my stop one night when I was totally engrossed. Charney's first book was a novel, The Art Thief. I liked it, but I hope he writes more non-fiction like this one as he really shines in this arena.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-21 06:02

    I loved this book. I'm a little obsessed with art theft, but this is a great read for any history or art lover. Concise, interesting, fast-moving. The Ghent Altarpiece has had quite the life.

  • Lizzie
    2019-05-22 10:23

    This is a book about the misadventures of the Ghent Altarpiece, the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb", completed by Jan van Eyck in 1432. With its realistic depiction of the Lamb and its adorers, it links Medieval and Renaissance art and is the national treasure of Belgium. Not surprisingly, it's been stolen and recovered a number of times.Charney starts with a detailed description of the 24 panels that make up the polyptych panel painting: a main panel showing the adoration of Christ depicted as a lamb, with smaller panels on each side, and two outer wings of multiple panels that can be folded over the main scene, with more paintings on the outside. The paintings contain religious symbology that would have been designed by some church official, not the painter. Over the years scholars have found all kinds of coded messages about the painter and the subject. But it's the realism and beauty of the panels that make them such treasures.The rest of the book is about the thefts and damage the painting has undergone. It was taken by Napoleon's troops, it was broken up and the outer wings exhibited in Berlin for some time, it was united as part of Germany's reparations after the second world war. A panel was stolen in 1934 and that crime has never been solved. Charney says the crime has the same status in Belgium as the Kennedy assassination here, with new books and theories every year. He goes into it in detail but it was really more than I cared about. I'm uninterested in unsolved mysteries - I'm bored to tears by theories about Kennedy or Jack the Ripper. Perhaps readers who enjoy such things will be more delighted by this material than I was.Along the way Charney describes how plunder of a nation's art work was once standard procedure in war, but at the start of WWI art scholars implored the world's great powers to end this. Most complied. During WWII, England and the US set up military units to list and protect archeological and art treasures, and to educate soldiers so that they'd respect these things. The Nazis acknowledged that defeated nations should keep their artworks... unless they were in the hands of Jews or other non citizens. Hitler and Goering were each trying to grab as many pieces as possible, Hitler for a museum he envisioned in his home town of Linz, Austria, that would make it the center of the art world. The number of pieces is staggering, and it included The Lamb. The Reich converted a salt mine in Austria into a storehouse. But when the end was in sight, Hitler gave orders to bomb the mine and destroy everything. If the Reich couldn't have them, nobody could. By this time, American intelligence knew about the salt mine storage, but could they prevent the art from being destroyed? That's the main story of this book.Well, we know how it comes out, so there's not too much suspense, though that part's interesting. All told, it's another of those books that would have been a good magazine article but has been stretched to book length. The references at the end are kind of cursory; I'd have preferred footnotes and more details about sources. The published version will include color pictures of the painting, which my advance copy lacked.

  • Timothy Hallinan
    2019-04-30 09:59

    The Ghent Altarpiece -- the masterpiece of Jan Van Eyck, possibly the first major oil painting in history, the most influential artwork of its day. It's been seen as the last great work of the Middle Ages and the first great work of the Renaissance. It is packed with symbolism enough to engage scholars for centuries, and it has. It's reputed to conceal vast mysteries, if they could only be decoded. Hitler, always a fan of the occult, believed it contained clues to the location of the Arma Christi, which included the Crown of Thorns and could confer supernatural powers on whoever possessed it.Open, it's more than 14 feet wide and 11 feet tall. It weighs about as much as two elephants. And despite that, it's one of the most-frequently stolen artworks in the world. Even now, one of its panels is missing, replaced in the 1940s with a replica. Noah Charney's book is a dazzler, both for what it tells us about the Altarpiece and also for what it tells us about the determination of the people who have stolen all or part of it.This book works on many levels, including the way it tosses off insights (portraiture as an expression of Humanism's stress on the importance of individual life?); it's a handbook of iconography, of trends in painting, of Biblical history and Christian myth; and it's also a study of obsession and greed. In all, a terrifically entertaining piece of work.

  • Julie
    2019-05-02 09:55

    I wasn't sure I would like this book. When I visit art museums, I enter rooms of medieval art more from a sense of duty than from love.I picked it up anyway, because of the compelling list on the dust jacket, of torments the Ghent Altarpiece has endured and survived: it's been stolen 13 times, and that's the least of the dangers it has faced. I'm so glad I read this book. Charney's enthusiasm for art and history is infectious. I used to think the paintings hanging on museum walls had, somehow, always been right where they were, there to be learned from and enjoyed by all. But the book showed me that many of the works of art we see today are hardy survivors. He opened my eyes to the stories of art and gave me a whole new way to appreciate what I see, not just for its beauty or how it speaks to my soul, but for its story as a physical object that has stood the test of time.

  • Scott Graham
    2019-05-18 07:18

    Charney does a marvelous job describing the creation and survival of what I consider to be the finest painting in Western Civilization. Describing how such a large and heavy masterpiece could be stolen, forged, hidden, threatened with destruction and ransomed was a fascinating eye opener to me. (The piece has been stolen 13 times; nothing else even comes close.) I thought the book dragged a bit before it reached the climax of the Nazis attempt to loot the piece - it was discovered in a salt mine in Austria near the end of the war - but all in all it is a great introduction to the role fine art plays in cultural, national, and spiritual history.

  • malea kiblan
    2019-05-18 13:23

    Interesting but UnevenAlthough the subject matter is very interesting, it seems more like a compilation of articles than cohesive book. The repetitive prose & copious (unnecessary) detail make for an ultimately tedious read.

  • Lee Anne
    2019-05-18 09:13

    The Ghent altarpiece is my favorite painting, and I will see it in person someday. This book, while interesting in theory, can be repetitive, too bogged down in digression, and just plain dull at times. Author Charney spends too much time with and repeats too many details of the Nazi looting and, more specifically, who did or did not find/protect/save the underground salt mine-turned-art warehouse which housed the altarpiece, as well as thousands of other artworks. There was already an entire book about the Monuments Men (as well as a movie); if I wanted to read over 80 pages on their antics, I would have read that book. The earlier chapters, which focus on the history of the painting, and its previous adventures, are much more interesting.

  • Marie
    2019-05-17 06:14

    I loved this historical narrative. It reads like a novel and explains in fascinating terms, the history of the Ghent Alterpiece (The Mystic Lamb), along with the fate of the multitudes of artworks plundered and looted by the Nazi's during WWII. The role of the Monuments Men, along with Resistance fighters is made even clearer, even though there is doubt about who the real heroes were. The fact that so much art was preserved is the important fact. I'll never look at art in a museum again without wondering who plundered and looted it from who resulted in me being able to view it at that particular moment. If you love art, history, war strategy and mystery you should read this book!

    2019-05-21 14:00

    I enjoyed this book less than I did Charney's The Art Thief, but I read that one a while ago. In the interim I read The Monuments Men which was riveting. I may have been the only person to enjoy George Clooney's movie, so much did I enjoy the book. I found some annoyances in Charney's style: repetitions, imprecissions (why does he say in page 235 that Kirstein had passable German when in 237 he says that he barely spoke the language?)... First I gave the book 3* then came back to give it a 4. It's a good read on a marvelous subject.

  • Alarie
    2019-04-29 08:20

    This book covers the importance of The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck to the world of art and its many adventures as the most coveted, most often stolen art in the world. They hype says it reads like a thriller, but it reads more like an academic treatise. A mystery writer would have chosen which details matter to keep the book moving. Instead we get bogged down in the confusing maze of who did what and the many false leads detectives have to deal with all the time. I did enjoy the photographs and some of the art discussion. Less would have been more for me.

  • Rachel
    2019-05-08 08:55

    A fascinating story not so fascinatingly told.

  • Marie
    2019-05-19 11:19

    Beautiful story!Loved this historical narrative, that explains in fascinating terms, the history of The Mystic Lamb, along with the fate of the multitudes of artworks plundered and looted by the Nazi's during WWII. The role of the Monuments Men, along with Resistance fighters is made even clearer, even though there is doubt about who the real heroes were. The fact that so much art was preserved is the important fact. I'll never look at art in a museum again without wondering who plundered and looted it from who resulted in me being able to view it at that particular moment. If you love art, history, war strategy and mystery you should read this book!

  • Ann
    2019-05-05 14:12

    Mona Lisa, Shmona Lisa. The most important oil painting in art history is not the smiling seductress from the Louvre, but a monumental altarpiece painted by Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck, whose rightful place is a chapel in a Gothic cathedral in the Beglian city of Ghent. The painting has had a tormented history that will fascinate anyone with an interest in art history or the history of Western Europe. Some of the other reviewers have commented that the author digresses on numerous occasions. That is true, but I personally found these digressions interesting. A too focused narrative would have failed to situate the painting in its proper artistic, religious or historical context. I actually found the changes in pace refreshing. We start out with a thorough discussion of the significance of the painting. I knew that the painting was considered to mark the transition from the stylized Medieval way of painting to Renaissance realism, but I had not appreciated, for instance, that it contained numerous religious allegories,symbols and other coded references that only an erudite scholar could interpret. Then the author discusses the circumstances in which the painting came into being. The political and religious climate of the day, the life of the painter, even the life of the wealthy merchant who commissioned the painting. And then the roller coaster begins. The painting comes close to being destroyed by Protestants during the reformation. Napoleon's troops steal it. It ends up in Berlin, and is later restituted to the Belgian people. On several occasions it is hidden by the populace of Gent, or by individual clerics. During WWII, it is looted by the Nazis and ends up in a salt mine in Austria. As the days of the Third Reich come to a close, a fanatical gauleiter wants to blow up the mine with all the priceless art treasures in it. This is prevented, though it is not clear who can claim credit for saving the art. It was a toothache that ultimately led the Allies to the stash, in the sense that the dentist took his American patient to see his son-in-law, who babbled freely about Nazi art looting. But my favorite episode in this rocambolesque narrative is the 1934 theft of two of the panels of the painting. This has stuff you would sneer at if you encountered it in a novel. A stealthy removal of two quite sizable pieces of wood. Ransom letters that become increasingly emotional. A police inspector who decides to focus on a theft of cheese from a nearby shop rather than on the disappearance of the painting from the Cathedral. A deathbed confession by an apparently solid citizen, overheard only by his lawyer, whose subsequent behavior was odd to say the least. The secret of the confessional. Threats to the Belgian royal family. All good lip-smacking stuff, the equivalent of the JFK assassination for Belgium. Or perhaps a better analogy would be the diseappearsance of Jimmy Hoffa, since the missing panel has never been found, despite hints that it might be hidden in the cathedral itself. It is a terrible pity that no funds have been found to apply modern technology to the church interior in an effort to find the panel.This is a great book that combines scholarly discussions about art history with faster-paced adventures.

  • Phyllis
    2019-05-11 13:20

    I could not put this book down! In a few months I will be traveling to the Netherlands and Belgium and plan to visit St. Bavo Cathedral to view the Ghent Altarpiece, which was highlighted in the movie, "The Monument Men." This artwork was created in the 1400's by Jan van Ecke and represents the last mayor work of the Middle Ages and the first of the Renaissance Period. It is an oil painting consisting of six wing panels, each panel weighing 60-100 kg. The most important panel is the lower center panel called the "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" and is 4.4x7.8 feet. The Altarpiece contains images of Adam, Eve, Righteous Judges, angels, Mary, St John the Baptist, the Knights of Christ, God the Father and much more.The Ghent Altarpiece has been the subject of several books and movies most recently the "Monument Men" movie starring George Clooney. Noah Charlet, the author of "Stealing the Mystic Lamb", provides us with a rich history of this 12 panel oil painting from its creation through three wars and 9 thefts to its restoration in 2010. I recommend this book to individuals interested in art and or European History. It is well-written and easy to read and is one of the best books I have read in years. I can't wait to see this art treasure. No wonder the Germans stole this artwork twice.

  • Paul
    2019-05-21 09:09

    The book's style is a bit dry and I found it hard to get engaged. The premise of the book seemed to be that this painting was the target of an unusual number of theft attempts, but I don't think that Charney really convinced me of that. It doesn't seem like any more of a target than other high-profile paintings, and in fact there seemed to be way fewer stories of thefts and attempted thefts than I've heard for paintings like the Mona Lisa or The Scream.In the first chapter, Charney goes into detail about why the painting is so great, but even with that explanation, looking at the thing I'm not exactly blown away by it. Maybe it's one of those things where it's impressive for its time and not in its own right.I also found the weird conspiracy theories about the theft of the judges panel to be a bit unbelievable. A lot of fluff without substance - we don't know what happened to the panel, and we just have a bunch of speculation that reminds me of the way conspiracy theorists spin their wheels looking for all kinds of anomalous details. Particularly ridiculous was the concept that one of the restorers all of a sudden had a "feeling" that the restored panel was actually painted over the original. Charney gives this idea way too much credibility, particularly after he had correctly explained that art and identification experts are generally not very good at distinguishing between forged and original paintings.2.5 out of 5 stars.

  • Claudia
    2019-05-03 12:10

    "Art is a symbolic magnet for nationalism, more so than any flag. Artworks resemble lambs in an open field by night. The nations are the shepherds.Their ability or failure to defent the lambs, not only from midnight wolves but also from other thieving shepherds, is a sign of their country's strengths."HUndreds of years' of art history, all revolving around THE LAMB, the Mystic Lamb, the Altarpiece of Ghent. I read the wildly popular MONUMENTS MEN first, and say Charney interviewed in a program about the WWII efforts to reclaim national art from the Nazis. This piece was highlighted, but as one of several.This book gives us a look at the thefts of this piece through the years...Everyone seems to want it, and no one seems able to protect it. Napoleon, Kaisers, and Nazis. But the most damage was done at the hands of private thieves. One of the panels of the piece was stolen between the world wars and has never been found...or has it??I think the team in charge of illustrations in the book let the author and the story and the Lamb down. I needed more close-up, full-color illustrations...I needed the full panels to NOT be dissected by the pages themselves. The Lamb disappeared into the folds of the picture.I wanted more discussion of the symbolism. Those are minor quibbles, tho to a book that shared the Mystic Lamb with the world. Now I need to see it in person.

  • Joseph
    2019-05-05 10:56

    Using the masterpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (aka The Ghent Altarpiece) by Jan Van Eyck, Charney provides us with a very interesting account of what happens to great art during periods of intense turmoil. The book reads a bit like a novel, describing the “relationship” between many key figures in history and the disposition of great art, from the early renaissance through the baroque period. We read about how some of the unholiest men – despots, kings, and otherwise maniacal leaders – sought to preserve art; admittedly for self-aggrandizement in most cases. At the same time, Charney also provides us with a description of several relatively unknown figures in history who, through their love and respect for art, provided us with the treasures that we see today in the great museums of the world (still remembering, of course, that the current location of many of these treasures is usually the product of a "power play" between nations). By itself the “twists and turns” involved in the “adventures” of the Ghent Altarpiece makes the book worth reading. The story of its survival, frequently by great “twists of fate,” is nothing less than amazing.

  • Irene O'Hare
    2019-05-06 14:21

    Charney thoroughly engages the reader in this non-fiction account of the Mystic Lambs' complicated history with his novel-like prose. I really enjoyed his visual analysis of the artwork and his exploration of the Jan/Hubert van Eyck controversy. I found the actions taken to protect the Lamb during the First World War enthralling and his account of the search for it during the Second World War was moving, even if the details of conflicting accounts got a little tiresome. Kirstein and Posey are real heroes. I hope we one day learn the truth of the 1934 theft but it may be lost to history. I particularly appreciate Charney's emphasis on art as a symbol nation and culture, even more so than a flag, and that stripping a country of it's artwork can have such an impact on it's citizens. I've read Charney's The Art Thief and am pleased that his non-fiction writing is just as interesting as his fiction.

  • Erik Moloney
    2019-05-01 12:02

    Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian’s list of the ten most important paintings ever made. Often referred to by the subject of its central panel, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it represents the fulcrum between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. 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, illegally sold, 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, art historian Noah Charney unravels the stories of each of these thefts. In the process, he illuminates the whole fascinating history of art crime, and the psychological, ideological, religious, political, and social motivations that have led many men to covet this one masterpiece above all others.

  • Donna Jo Atwood
    2019-05-01 12:24

    The most stolen art work in the world is NOT the Rembrandt self-portrait, which has been stolen a mere four times, but Jan van Eyck's The Ghent Altarpiece which has been taken a total of seven times. And it's not the sort of thing you can just shove in your pocket and stroll out with--it has 20 panels fitted together into a triptych of 11 1/2 by 14 1/2 feet, weighing 2 tons. The most recent theft occurred during World War II when Hitler and his gang of Nazis were stripping all of Europe of art masterpieces.Charney gives us a run down on the Altarpiece, its significance in the history of art, and its place as a Belgium Masterwork. Then he leads us to the two most recent mysteries about the work; the 1934 disappearance of two of the panels and the World War II theft and recovery. Both have unaswered questions.I enjoyed this book very much. I do wish there had been more detailed color pictures of the art, but other than that it was an interesting book.

  • Newport Librarians
    2019-05-18 09:17

    Jan van Eyck's 1432 multi-panelled oil masterpiece depicting Adam and Eve, the Annunciation, judges, pilgrims, popes, martyrs, the Lamb of God, and more, all in splendid color and detail and known as the Ghent Altarpiece, may be considered the first oil painting and is certainly one of the world's recognized treasures. Art historian Noah Charney does a fine job explaining the importance of van Eyck's 24 scenes to the general reader. But the story of the altarpiece really springs to life when he begins to describe the number of times--and number of ingenious ways--that parts or all of the work have been stolen, misappropriated, or in some way used as a pawn in world politics. The Altarpiece has been attacked by iconoclasts, coveted by Napoleon, stolen by a henchman of Hitler; one missing panel may have been painted over by a copyist who was assigned the work of painting a legitimate copy. Charney teaches a good bit of art history through an entertaining narrative of detection.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-24 07:22

    I read Stealing the Mystic Lamb after scouring the Philadelphia Museum of Art museum store and finding this gem. I was reading The Art Forager when I found this and I was so excited to read a perspective of a real-life art heist.I first learned about the Ghent Altarpiece, or the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in freshmen year art history class, and I'm still amazed that the huge work (both in scope and size) was able to be stolen thirteen times, and is debatably still not all found. The twelve panels of the polyptych form such an important work to the history of art that it's kind of incredible that it's been so well preserved for all of the trauma it's gone through.The book read like a text book, which I didn't find off-putting. It was only when it got to WWII and the Monuments Men that I really had to push through and finish it. I'd recommend Stealing the Mystic Lamb to anyone interested in art, history, or famous mysteries.

  • RumBelle
    2019-05-15 06:10

    This was a fascinating look at the very complex life in one of the most prized pieces of art every created. I knew nothing about van Eyck or the Ghent Altarpiece before reading this book, and it was so interesting. This work of art had been stolen, forged, ransomed and so much more during it’s long history. It’s creator was a pioneer as a painter, greatly influencing the use of oil paint as a preferred medium. The Altarpiece itself had so many layers of meaning, which were interpreted in so many varied ways. The Epilogue was, perhaps, the most interesting part. around the 1930’s one panel of the Altarpiece was stolen, and never recovered, or perhaps it was. A restorer painted an almost exact copy that the book postulated could have been painted over the original. A truly entertaining, and engaging, book.

  • Margi
    2019-05-16 06:14

    Fascinating look at the troubled history of one of the most famous works of art, The Ghent Altarpiece. This book delves into the artist of the piece as well as the time, the people, and the other history surrounding it. The Ghent Altarpiece is the most stolen piece of art of all time. It has been stolen, illegally sold, hunted by Nazis, (think Monuments Men) dismembered and so much more. We read this book for our book club and there was so much to discuss. Who really painted it, the symbols found in the panels, where the missing panel is, and so forth. The only thing I did not like about the book were the pictures. They just did not do justice to the art piece. However there are several books out there that have great photos of it. If you are interested in art history at all, read this book! (

  • Just A. Bean
    2019-05-13 08:02

    Non fiction about the Ghent alter piece by Jan Van Eyck, which has been stolen repeatedly over the centuries for a variety of reasons. The first few chapters discuss the painting and painter in detail, then it jumps into it's long and storied history of being lifted. The book is also something of a history of art theft, but usually stays close to the story of the Ghent and the painting. I found it engagingly written and often very funny, though it did drag a bit in the section detailing the 1934 theft, and spent a little too much time on WWII. Would rec if you're looking for a fun popular history book.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-14 08:04

    Really almost an art historical text book, this book is not for everyone. The first half is devoted to art historical research and unfortunately the author has some errors in what he is saying. The second half is more entertaining and follows the historic path the famous Ghent Altarpiece took. However at several points the author seems to get sidetracked and starts in on some rather dry history about whatever period he happens to be talking about. Not a bad book, but there were some passages that took some effort to get through, not for you if you are looking for an exciting romp through history.