Thieves, Vandals and Idiots: Criminal History of Art

Sophia Bagdasarova
232 pages;
full-color;
2019;

Breathtaking stories about the crimes in the world of Russian art and Russian crimes in the world of Art, ridiculously funny criminals, details on the dark side of an antique business.

One picked off 602 diamonds from icons and went into hiding behind the iconostasis for three days, only to fell on top of policeman’s heads (literally) due to hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. Another in broad daylight came into Hermitage, cut the canvas of a painting out of its frame, fold it several times and… later dropped it off to a famous politician.

All of the crimes, fraud schemes and vandal acts, described in this book took place in real life at some point in history, which only makes it harder to believe in those stories. Besides some adventurous criminal (yet humorous) stories, described in the book, it also includes journalist’s reports on the craziest Russian crimes. You will also find some anonymous insider interviews from the representatives of the modern art market, that shed a light on some amazing details of the dark side of an antique business.

Sophia Bagdasarova is a Russian historian of art, journalist, and art blogger. She has been professionally involved in culture journalism for more than 10 years (RIA Novosti, Vash Dosug, Russia Today, Vokrug Sveta, Kultura.RF, Nozh, Kulturomania, and others). Since November 2018, she has been a member of the editorial board of the Russian version of The Art Newspaper. Her book ‘Disgusting Art’ was listed in the long list for the Prosvetitel Prize in 2018 (an award for science communicators).

“The author is deliberately comical, but it is obvious that she likes her subject, and, most importantly, knows it well. Reading the book will help you keep your cool among the indignant cries of disgruntled compatriots, and feel confident as you walk the rooms of European museums.”

Literary critic Mikhail Vizel (GodLiteratury.rf)


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