Elmyr de Hory
Elmyr de Hory fooled the art world for thirty years with his expert forgeries of works by Picasso, Renoir, and other masters. To this day, many of his forgeries remain undetected and are in museums and collections throughout the world.
Han van Meegeren, 1947
In 1947 Han van Meegeren (1889-1947), a Dutch artist and art dealer, was arrested for collaborating with the Nazis. He was charged with selling a painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-75) titled 'Christ and the Adulteress' to Reich Marshal Hermann Goering. This painting was considered a national treasure, making it a crime to sell it to the enemy.
Van Meegeren admitted selling the painting to Goering, but he defended himself by revealing that the painting was a forgery which he had painted himself. Surely it wasn't a crime to cheat the Nazis, he argued.
Michelangelo’s Cupid, 1495
As a young man, Michelangelo sculpted a sleeping cupid. He, or an accomplice, then buried it in acidic earth to give it an appearance of great age. The plan was to pass it off as an antiquity, to fetch a higher price. The artificially aged sculpture was bought by Cardinal Raffaello Riario of San Giorgio who, when he learned of the forgery, demanded his money back. But impressed by Michelangelo's talent, the Cardinal didn't press charges.