Melissa's Reviews > The Art Thief

The Art Thief by Noah Charney
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May 21, 09

Read in May, 2009

I feel that if you are an art buff: Professor, student, or historian, that you will love this book. I have a degree in the arts and I didn't feel as if I was being lectured at but more, given a refresher on what I already know. In fact one of my favorite characters was Barrow - the surly professor that adds humor to his lessons (wish I had a professor like this, I would have retained more). The other part that I loved was the description of the market in Portobella, very vivid and colorful explanation of the location as these types of events happen all over the world.

Now, that being said, I was left confused. We have three main paintings in question. The White on White, the Carivaggio, the impressionist mess. The impressionist mess had a fake Carivaggio under it, and under that was a White on white. The Carivaggio was stolen from the church and then taken where? The church got back a fake Carivaggio. Where is the real one? Is this the painting that Gabril is uncovering at the end? This would make sense, as he is the one who has been creating all the fakes, to have an original of the master would suffice his need as a forger. Then the White on White: stolen, sold at Christie's to a museum, then stolen again (by Gabril) and returned to its original owner lord whatever? Okay, I guess this makes sense but not without a diagram and pie chart. Ultimately, lord whatever ends up with nothing as Gabril re-steals the Carrivago under gesso as well as his families prized bible.

MORE CONFUSION! Lord whatever sells his White on White (which he wants but needs money), it goes to Christie's, sold to Museum for 6.3 mil, stolen, he donates 6.3 for ransom. What the book doesn't say is that the money is just wired back to him as he has hired Gabril to steal it. So he gets his Painting, and the 6.3 minus what Gabril cost to do the theft.

AND what did the old man Surllanave or whatever his name was have to do with all of this? As it appears, his house was just a plotting ground for Gabril's plan, and what, he just happened to have all the appropriate pieces of art that matched Gabril's "34 Theme"? And he was conveniently not home when it was searched? Please...thats hard to grasp.

It leaves a lot for reader interpretation. A thick read for sure, and I don't mean page count.
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Reading Progress

05/19/2009 page 230
75.66% "Market Portobello Art Historians, students, or lovers"

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