Dutch golden age painter Rembrandt painted this masterpiece on 1633. It was in Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, when it got stolen on March 18, 1990. The robbery is still the largest art thievery in the world with an estimated value of a staggering $3 billion. Among the 13 pieces the thieves stole, this and “The Concert” became the most valuable paintings to ever get permanently stolen.
This masterpiece brings to life, the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament which depicts the miracle of Jesus, where he calms the waves on raging Sea of Galilee.
What’s interesting though is that there are fourteen people in the boat. Twelve disciples and Jesus himself makes thirteen. This makes the fourteenth person a mystery. What looks though is that Rembrandt has painted himself as our mystery person. The crewmate looking outwards towards the viewers is considered by many as Rembrandt himself. The reward of $5 Million still holds to whoever can give any lead.
This painting is known to world for rather a devious reason. This hold the record for the world's greatest art forgery ever. This painting is a fake one, forged by Han Van Meegeran. Sold as the original one painted by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, it ended up in collection of a high ranking Nazi official, Hermann Goring. When traced it back to Meegeran, he was charged for collaborating with the enemy and was imprisoned. Facing a death penalty, he exclaimed that it was not a treachery but was rather a mere forgery and the painting was fake.
His work was so good that he had to prove he was a forger by painting Jesus Among Doctors. When a team of international art experts came, the only way to prove that it was a fake was the type of paint used which would not have been available in the days when the real painting was made. His charges were dropped however he faced one year imprisonment for forgery and fraud. It all came to an end for the master forger when he succumbed to a heart attack and took his last breath behind the walls of prison, far away from his canvas, with few more days left of his imprisonment.
If you are a common guy like me, chances are, you must be thinking what the hell is this? This doesn’t look special! But think again. This masterpiece holds the record for most costly painting ever to get sold. On January 2015, it got sold for a staggering $300 Million. Normally, paintings made before 1803 are not sold and rather held by museums and so when this one went into auction, art collectors went literally “Banana”.
See this one carefully. Whatever you know about this painting is less because widely accepted-this is in fact the painting that holds most hidden meanings. From the genesis of art to irony of death, it is soaked in contrast and not just of paint.
In brief, how the shepherd recognizes his shadow and leans forward to touch it is the moment of genesis for art. The shadow on the tomb is the first art in the world. However, the shadow also symbolizes death. The fair maiden looking down here depicts the embodiment of art herself. It shows how art was invented to overcome the shocking revelation of human mortality. It is a false manifestation of our own memories, a mere shadow of us to console our own selves at the time when in reality, we lack the hand of our near and dear ones. The depth of wisdom hidden inside this masterpiece is endless and so does the meanings.
And you all knew how this countdown would end. But since you knew, it already justifies why this is our number one. This classic masterpiece is synonymous to painting. From her disproportional smile to sexist facial to being the most valued painting in history. As of 2015, Mona Lisa holds an insane single hand $750 Million value with a non-negotiable contract label that prevents it from being sold to single collectors. The epic monumental milestone of panting history has a never ending list of hidden meanings which will take an entire article of itself to say the least. Let me know in the comments if you like would like an article on it. For now,
“She rest at last beneath the starry skies.” – Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code.