Monday, May 25, 2009

Art movies

The Art Heist is a steal-the-painting action movie. So when it starts with four figures paragliding into the grounds of the Museum of National Art of Catalonia in Barcelona, you know you’re in for the usual diet of abseiling, red laser security systems and paintings cut out of frames. The basic story of Art Heist is of the steal original , copy original, burn copy, give original to evil collector variety. The plan would surely have succeeded if it were not for one of the cops who happened to be played by a Baldwin brother (William – it’s low budget).

The copy of evil collector’s El Greco’s Christ Carrying the Cross was created by Arts of Fairies Inc. who also mocked up all the paintings on view in the movie museum. As you can see, the Arts of Fairies version of El Greco would only pass muster with a drunk monkey in the low lighting of a watercolour gallery, but it fools the art expert in the movie, so there you go. In fact the fake theme is also in play in the Museum of National Art of Catalonia’s grand looking digs. They were in fact which built in 1929 for the Barcelona Exhibition.

Back in a parallel reality, the most recent private owner of the El Greco’s Christ Carrying the Cross was Robert Lehman, founder of Lehman Brothers Investment Bank. The painting is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and you already know what happened to Lehman Brothers.
Images: From top left, left to right. The set-up - pinching the El Greco, one of our paintings is missing, and another, and another (this time with gratuitous nude included), found it! and the MNAC where the whole caper starts.