Art: Brilliant, But Not For Real

A show surveys old and new masters of forgery

The history of faking is nearly as old as the history of art, and for as long as there have been documents, there have been forgeries. "This is not a lie, it is indeed the truth," runs an inscription of the earliest forgery we know, a Babylonian cuneiform inscription from the 2nd millennium B.C. pretending to be one from the 3rd millennium. "He who will damage this document, let Enki fill up his canals with slime."

In the thousands of years since, there have been fake epics and poems, fake royal seals and family trees, fake historical relics (from chastity belts...

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