Thursday, October 23, 2014

"The History of Loot and Stolen Art from Antiquity Until the Present Day" by Ivan Lindsay (2014 Edition)

The History of Loot and Stolen Art. by Ivan Lindsay

"History of Loot and Stolen Art 
from Antiquity Until the Present Day" 
by Ivan Lindsay. 
Unicorn Press, 2014

Brief Review by Travis Simpkins

     Even before fully delving into Ivan Lindsay's ambitious tome on the History of Loot and Stolen Art, it is apparent that the book aspires to be a definitive text on the subject. Containing more than 200 images (most in vibrant color), the 400+ pages spring forward with visual interest, interspersed with a clearly written narrative that follows the age-old act of looting throughout human history and civilization.
     The covered material is presented in a well-versed manner and was surely a labor of love for Mr. Lindsay (who is also an art dealer), as the depth of information must've required years of careful research. The main focus of the book is looting, works of art taken as spoils of war, and illustrates how this is an ongoing and troublesome process. Starting with the Ancient Assyrians, nearly 30 centuries of looting profiles continue in chronological order with Alexander the Great, the Vikings, the Crusades, Cesare Borgia, Henry VIII, Spanish conquest in the Americas, Queen Christina, Charles I, Napoleon, Lord Elgin, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Joseph Stalin and up to modern day Iraq.
     It is an all-encompassing, compelling and intriguing text. In addition, great care and thought is given to the concept of restitution as it relates to each period in history. Some coverage is given to modern-day "Museum Heists" and everyday theft, but this subject is mainly referenced as a subtext to Cultural Heritage Crimes.
     Well-written, thought provoking and carefully researched, Ivan Lindsay's "History of Loot and Stolen Art" is an essential addition to the bookshelf of any Art Theft scholar, or anyone with a general appreciation for Art History.

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Alexander the Great

Cesare Borgia

Adolf Hitler

Rembrandt. Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Gardner Museum