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The Clark Presents a Free Lecture by Bestselling Author Noah Charney on the True Story of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2010

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute presents a free lecture by Noah Charney, celebrated author of Stealing the Mystic Lamb and the international bestselling novel The Art Thief, on October 10 at 3:00 pm. Charney will follow the trail of Jan van Eyck’s fifteenth-century painting, The Ghent Altarpiece, illuminating the 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. The Missing Masterpieces lecture series is sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

Stealing the Mystic Lamb begins at the end of the Second World War as the Reich’s military fortunes are crumbling and the Allies are searching for the tens of thousands of artworks stolen by the Nazis. Among these stolen works was Jan van Eyck’s The Ghent Altarpiece, a twelve-panel oil painting often referred to by the subject of its central panel, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.” The 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.

“Charney unsnarls the tangled history of Jan van Eyck’s fifteenth-century The Ghent Altarpiece (aka The Mystic Lamb), ‘the most desired and victimized object of all time,’” said Kirkus Reviews. “With a novelist’s sense of structure and tension, the author adds an easy familiarity with the techniques of oil painting and with the intertwining vines of art and political and religious history…[The Mystic Lamb is a] brisk tale of true-life heroism, villainy, artistry and passion.”

Noah Charney holds advanced degrees in art history from The Courtauld Institute and Cambridge University. He is the founding director of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a non-profit think tank and research group on issues in art crime (www.artcrime.info). His work in the field of art crime has been praised in such international forums as New York Times magazine, Time magazine, BBC and CBC Radio, National Public Radio, El Pais, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Playboy, Elle, and Tatler, among many others. He has appeared on radio and television as an expert on art history and art crime, including BBC, ITV, CNBC, and MSNBC, and he is the editor of an academic essay collection entitled Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009). Recently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, Charney is now Professor of Art History at The American University of Rome.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

Calendar Listing

October 10: The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute presents a free lecture by Noah Charney, celebrated author of Stealing the Mystic Lamb and the international bestselling novel The Art Thief, on October 10 at 3:00 pm. Charney will follow the trail of Jan van Eyck’s fifteenth-century painting, The Ghent Altarpiece, illuminating the 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. The Missing Masterpieces lecture series is sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. The Clark, 225 South Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 413 458 2303, clarkart.edu.

Contact:
pr@clarkart.edu

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