Frescoes in the slough
World painting boasts an impressive history of fakes. Such things have happened at all times and in all countries. And one of the funniest hoaxes happened half a century ago in Germany.
As it is known, lawsuits exposing counterfeiters are not uncommon. And any of them should start, the media must inform the on-call sensation, although far from fresh: “75 million lime masterpieces circulate throughout Europe, and, according to experts, their number will increase every year!”
That’s after all what heights the falsifiers, mystifiers and other adventurers from art have reached! But it is unlikely that they would be able to turn their scams so easily if there weren’t good “teachers” behind them who prepared the ground for that …
Incendiary bombs dropped on Lübeck performed, as they wrote in the newspapers, a miraculous cleansing. Causing serious damage to the Church of St. Mary, at the same time, they showed the world beautiful frescoes, hidden for many centuries under layers of paint! On September 2, 1951, the West German public rejoiced. Finally opens to visit the Marienkirche in Lübeck, destroyed during the Second World War.
Art historians dated these paintings in the 13th century. And for everyone who cherishes national art, his heart shed blood when he saw how a priceless ancient painting, being in the church without a roof, suffers from rain, wind, snow and other natural phenomena.
Due to lack of funding, repairs had to be postponed until 1948. But when the money was found and the West German Association for the Preservation of Antiquities received the required amount, she faced an equally important question: who should be entrusted with the restoration? A discussion of the candidates took several months. But as soon as the name of Dietrich Fairy was called, the public expressed frank bewilderment. How! Herr Fey, of course, a talented and famous painter, but after all, not a year has passed since the scandal associated with his name! Is it possible to allow a person who was suspected of embezzlement of museum exhibits to the national treasure ?!
But the decision of the Association has not been changed. Theft Fairy, no matter how gossip about him, remained unproven. So why should you shake the air if you still can’t find a more worthy candidate?
Dietrich Fey had to work with monuments of the 13th century. Back in the 1930s, it was he, together with his friend Lothar Malskat and with his father, also an artist, who restored the famous cathedral in Schleswig. What was it worth only a picturesque frieze, restored by them from ruins! The frieze, consisting of eight medallions, was truly magnificent. True, he was associated with some kind of not too beautiful story, over the past 20 years, of course, already forgotten, but still …
Then, in the 1930s, the fascist media devoted a lot of newspaper strips and radio time to the Schleswig Cathedral. Still would! Restorers were able to make a sensational discovery that turns history and erases misconceptions, which resulted in an underestimation of the role of the Aryan race in world culture.
Art historians who studied murals in Schleswig drew attention to the frieze medallions: they depicted not only foxes traditional for European painting, but also turkeys – birds, which, according to popular belief, appeared in Europe after the discovery of America!
The scandal was ready to flare up: the media began to appear hints of fake, too shameless to go unpunished. However, Herr Fey, Sr., a well-deserved and authoritative artist, refuted all these insinuations, putting forward a theory that was very convenient for the Nazis. According to him, the overseas continent was discovered long before Columbus. And not by anyone, but by the forefathers of the Germans, the Vikings! Those, being glorified sailors, could well reach America as far back as the 13th century! (And suddenly, returning and having on board sufficient food supplies, they brought several half-eaten Indian birds to the European continent?) And this is the best evidence of the superiority of the Aryan race over others! .. So let the artist Albers, who restored the Schleswig Cathedral in 1888, as much as he likes, claims that the medallions were not subject to restoration already in the 19th century, crumbling at the slightest touch of a brush! The old man just lost his mind!
According to another version, the frescoes by Lothar Melskat were so delightful that the German government ordered 4 million postage stamps depicting details of these frescoes. Success came, but only the forger knew about it, and this was not enough for him. Melskat wanted fame, he even talked about his fraud, but no one believed him. Then Melskat filed a lawsuit against himself, and as evidence of the crime he presented to the public two intentionally admitted anachronisms: a turkey and a portrait of Marlene Dietrich.
The conflict then faded away on its own. The world busy with preparations for war quickly switched to more burning sensations.