#looted art

Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, ca 1766-1833, lacquered gilt wood, Vietnam, Musée Guimet, Paris, France. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara

Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara was donated to the Musée Guimet in Paris, France, in 1889 by French archeologist Gustave Dumoutier. It represents the...

James W Singer 24 November 2022

Art of Australia & Oceania

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Looted from Australia

At the end of the 18th century, the British Empire added Australia to its territory. Since the infamous arrival of Captain Cook white people have...

Jimena Escoto 22 October 2022

History

The Story of Raphael’s Lost Portrait of a Young Man

Have you seen this painting? It is currently missing; in fact, it has been missing since 1945. Let’s explore the story of one of the most important...

Zuzanna Stańska 21 October 2022

Striding Lion, 604-562 BCE, glazed clay bricks, Processional Way, Babylon, Iraq, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Striding Lion from the Ishtar Gate

Striding Lion is a masterpiece of Mesopotamian art with monumental size and composition. It symbolizes the strength of King Nebuchadnezzar II and the...

James W Singer 14 October 2022

Warrior and Attendants, 16th-17th century, brass, Royal Palace, Benin City, Nigeria, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Warrior and Attendants of Benin

Warrior and Attendants is a masterpiece of Benin art. It encapsulates the beauty of Africa and its people. Black is beautiful. Black is...

James W Singer 6 October 2022

Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Queen Mother Idia of Benin

Africa is a beautiful continent filled with sweeping landscapes and mighty rivers. Its history is filled with great kingdoms and large empires. Its...

James W Singer 6 October 2022

Chambri People, Ancestor Mask, early 20th century, wood and natural pigments, Ceremonial House, Chambri Lake Village, Papua New Guinea, Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Chambri People’s Ancestor Mask

Ancestor Mask is a masterpiece of Papua New Guinean art. It symbolizes a vanishing tribal lifestyle rarely seen outside of...

James W Singer 1 August 2022

Contemporary Art

The Mysterious Zodiac Project: Ai Weiwei Animal Heads Explained

The Zodiac Project was Ai Weiwei’s first major public sculpture. The famous Chinese artist recreated the famous 12 bronze animal heads that...

Zuzanna Stańska 26 July 2022

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (detail), 1904-07, oil, silver, and gold on canvas, Neue Galerie New York Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is Gustav Klimt’s most significant work of portraiture. The famous Lady in Gold has as many eye-catching...

Emily Snow 25 July 2022

Medieval Art

Celebrity Sculptors, Medieval Fraud and Nazi Looting – An Outrageous Story of the Golden Veit Stoss Altarpiece

This is the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world and a national treasure of Poland. Carved over a period of 12 years, the 15th century Veit Stoss...

Candy Bedworth 21 July 2022

African Art

Colonial Looting of African Art: A Century in Exile

Have you ever wondered how European modern artists were inspired by African art? They certainly didn’t travel to the continent. The answer is...

Jimena Escoto 18 July 2022

Muisca Raft, ca 600-1600, gold, Museo del Oro, Bogotá, Colombia. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Muisca Raft

The Muisca Raft is a masterpiece of Pre-Columbian art. It was created by the Muisca people who lived in a region of today’s Colombia. Muisca...

James W Singer 30 June 2022