A group of people that lured tourists in a fake Terracotta Warriors exhibit was caught by the Chinese government. The entire exhibit was comprised of modern replicas. A forensic specialist in testing arts, hired by Sotheby, Jamie Martin of Orion Analytica, found that the newly sold Parmigianino painting was actually a modern forgery. And the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, is hoping that their painting of Philip IV of Spain in their collection will be definitively determined to be by Velazquez and not another modern forgery.
Art forgery and authenticity has been an issue lately. Why do people fall for these fake art exhibits? It is not like people love to be fooled by these fake exhibits, it just takes a long study to master and determine which is fake and which is the original. Not everyone is an expert forensic specialist in testing arts.
In the famous 1929 court case of the American Leonardo, art experts Sir Joseph Duveen and Bernard Berenson both rejected a version of Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière, by looking at a photo, they had already determined that it is not the original work of Leonardo da Vinci. The art experts were sued by the owner because they claim affected the value of the painting. The reason why the art experts rejected the American Leonardo because the original is known to be displayed in the Louvre Museum.
Tourist being lured in fake exhibits could often happen since it takes great knowledge about arts to determine whether the art is real or not. Bernard Berenson claims he has a sixth sense and a special gift in determining original painting from forged ones. He has seen so many original works of Leonardo da Vinci making him able to determine using his “vibe” when he looks at artworks.
Luckily Bernard Berenson’s gut was right. The American Leonardo was sold in 2010 as by a follower of Leonardo da Vinci, probably before 1750, not by da Vinci himself. According to the Salon, experts seem to be right in judging artworks when they use their initial vibe. However, in master forger case studies, even experts could fall for traps laid by forgers.
According to the Field Museum, original exhibits only coordinates with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center, and Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum of the People’s Republic of China. Average tourists that could not determine original from fake artworks could at least research on who is involved in organizing the exhibit. The terracotta warriors exhibit is composed of artifacts that were a part of China’s history, it was about China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang.