Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds

Nancy Moses (Author)


A fascinating read about fakes, forgeries, and frauds. What's real? What's fake? Why do we care? In this time of false news and fake science, these questions are more important than ever. Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds goes beyond the headlines, tweets, and blogs to explore the true nature of authenticity and why it means so much today. This book delivers nine fascinating true stories that introduce the fakers, forgers, art authenticators, and others that populate this dark world. Examples include: -Shakespeare--How an enterprising teenager in the 1790s faked Shakespeare and duped Literary London. -Rembrandt--How art history, connoisseurship, and science are re-shaping our view of what Rembrandt painted and how the canvas changed over time. -Relics--Was Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, a real Roman teenager who was martyred 1,800 years ago in the same place where her church stands today? -Jackson Pollock--How do experts pick out the real Pollocks from the thousands of fakes? -Nuremberg--How repeated reconstructions of medieval Nuremburg--including one by Adolf Hitler--show how historic preservation became a tool for propaganda. Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds also raises provocative questions about the meaning of reality. What happens when spiritual truth conflicts with historic fact? Can an object retain its essence when most of it was replaced? Why did some art patrons value an excellent copy more than the original? Why do we find fakes so eternally fascinating, and forgers such appealing con artists? Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds is a full-color book with 30 color photos. It shows that reality, exemplified by discrete physical objects, is actually mutable, unsettling, and plainly weird. Readers discover things that are less than meets the eye--and might even reconsider what's real, what's fake, and why they should care.

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
February 15, 2020
6.3 X 0.7 X 9.3 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Nancy Moses is an award winning author, media producer, and former museum director who writes about iconic cultural treasures and the provocative issues they raise. She is a visiting scholar, American University of Rome and chair of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


Once again, Nancy Moses has written about a subject that is both timely and timeless. She takes the reader on a journey that spans centuries and continents and provides a lively narrative about some of history's most revered and iconic masterworks. This deeply researched book contains many surprises about the practitioners of the art of deception. She also pays tribute to the dedicated professionals--curators, connoisseurs and security specialists--who have sustained the integrity of our most trusted cultural institutions.--Brent D. Glass, Director Emeritus, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Author, 50 Great American Places, Essential Historic Sites Across the US.
Identifying fake Jackson Pollock paintings (he was harder to imitate than you might think), discovering the truth behind Nuremberg's medieval buildings (actually, only seventy years old), and learning how a fraudster passed off an entire play as the work of William Shakespeare... these are some of the true tales I loved in Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds. And, be totally honest, I wouldn't have guessed how fascinating these stories could be until I read this engaging book. But Nancy Moses knew. So she toured the world to sift fakes from facts and then wrote this provocative collection of essays that will surely become a favorite for art connoisseurs and novices.--Keith Talbot, George Foster Peabody Award-Winning radio and television producer
With a lively diversity of case studies examined, from paintings to literature, from ancient manuscripts to bones, Moses' book offers a wonderful introduction to a subject that fascinates.--Noah Charney, Phd, professor specializing in art crime and founder of ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art)
Expect nothing less than a tour of cultural reality in this marvelously conceived and riveting book about fakes, forgeries, and frauds. Who does them? How do we discover them? Nancy Moses assumes the role of detective, guiding us through extraordinary stories of deception, revealing methods and motives, meanings and miracles, and asking us why we should care about authenticity in the first place. Prepare for a ride through art and politics from antiquity to the present. Hold tight, for it's a mesmerizing journey.--Carol Loeb Shloss, Stanford University
Educational, informative, and intriguing . . . this book will appeal to audiences everywhere as the topics discussed are fascinating and the subject matter timely in a world of fake news.--Booklist