When Art Isn’t Real

The World's Most Controversial Objects under Investigation

Andrew Shortland and Patrick Degryse

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How an initially valueless object becomes worth hundreds of millions. And vice versa.
The art world is a multi-billion-dollar industry which captures world headlines on a regular basis, for both good and bad reasons. This book deals with one of the most-discussed areas of controversy: high-profile objects that have experts arguing about their veracity. Some may have been looted, others may be fakes, some may be heavily restored or misattributed. Often, in these cases, analytical science is called on to settle a dispute. The authors of this book have decades of experience in this field, working on a range of objects dating from prehistory to the twentieth century. They present seven of the most famous cases from the Getty Kouros to the Turin Shroud – some of which are still contested, and examine how a few words from a connoisseur or scientist can make a virtually valueless object worth hundreds of millions. And vice versa.

Read the introduction of the book

“The ‘arms race’ between the forger and the scientist is quite interesting.”
Read a Q&A with Andrew Shortland and Patrick Degryse

Listen to an interview with Andrew Shortland and Patrick Degryse at New Books Network: https://newbooksnetwork.com/when-art-isnt-real

Chapter 1


Chapter 2

Piltdown Man

Chapter 3

The Getty Kouros

Chapter 4

Turin Shroud

Chapter 5

The Vinland Map

Chapter 6

The “Amarna Princess”

Chapter 7

Leonardo and the Eye

Chapter 8

The Reconstruction of Knossos

Chapter 9



A Guided Bibliography


Format: Trade book - ebook - ePub

200 pages

Illustrated in black and white

ISBN: 9789461664624

Publication: March 18, 2022

Languages: English

Andrew J. Shortland is professor of archaeological science and director of Cranfield Forensic Institute at Cranfield University.
Patrick Degryse is professor of geochemistry at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, and professor of archaeometry at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.