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The term ‘art forgery’ refers to the act of creating and selling artworks which are falsely credited to famous artists.

This subject date back to the Romans time when sculptors were copying Greek artwork. During the Renaissance period, forgery was used by scholars to understand the techniques of the master, who at the end was selling these works. During the 16th century, the subject becomes very popular and also very famous artists started creating forgeries.

Three are the varieties of art forgeries: the person who creates the forgery, the person who discovers the fraudulent piece and but passes it off as something which is not, and the person who finds out that the work is fake but sells it as an original.

Methods to discover fake artworks have been developed over the years. Among the techniques adopted to discover an art forgery, there are the examination, the forensic authentication and the digital authentication.

The examination of an artwork is often enough to determine its authenticity. From the examination process, investigators can understand the type of tools and artistic methods used, and see if they are consistent or inconsistent with the original artists' techniques.

If the examination technique fails, investigators will utilise one or more forensic methods to determine the authenticity of the work. These processes include carbon dating, white lead dating, X-ray, ultraviolet fluorescence and infrared, stable isotope analysis and thermoluminescence.

Finally, with the digital development, digital images of paintings have been used as a method to detect forgeries.

The term 'art theft' relates to the action of stealing artworks with the aim to resell them. Only a small percentage of stolen artworks is recovered. To prevent the theft of artwork, nowadays, museums are taking various measures including hiring guards to watch the sites or installing security cameras.

Do you want to know more about these topics? Browse this category. You will find a wide range of digital textbooks which will help you deepen your knowledge about forgery and artwork theft.

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