Lost artworks  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
art theft

Lost artworks are original pieces of art that credible sources indicate once existed, but cannot be accounted for in museums, private collections, or are known to have been destroyed or neglected through ignorance and lack of connoisseurship.

For lost literary works, see Lost work.

Works are listed chronologically by when they were created, not by when they were destroyed or lost.

Contents

Classical era

5th century

6th century

8th century

  • Many icons were destroyed during the reign of Leo III the Isaurian, including a famous image on the Chalke Gate. The Byzantine Historian Procopius described this image as "a tall, vaulted building with a central dome....covered with mosaics depicting the victories of Justinian and Belisarius ...in the center was a great golden icon of Christ." (Procopius. The Buildings. I, 10. Trans. Dewing, H.B., and Downey, Glanville. Boston: Loeb Classical Library. 1940.) Only a few icons from this period survive, saved outside of imperial control at St. Catherine's Monastery, in the Sinai.

11th century

  • The final portion of the Bayeux Tapestry was deliberately removed at some point, and is now lost.

14th century

15th century

  • Virgin Enthroned with Saints and Angels (1402) by Lorenzo Monaco. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Statue of Abundance (Dovizia) in stone carved by Donatello (1428). On a column placed first in the Baptistery of the Duomo, later in the Mercato Vecchio, Florence. Replaced in the 18th century, now lost.
  • Frescoes by Gentile da Fabriano and Pisanello in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Destroyed in reconstruction, 1647.
  • The Sagra del Carmine, fresco for the cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, by Masaccio (1425) representing the consecration of the church in 1422. Destroyed by 1600.
  • Fresco of the Confirmation of the Rules of the Carmelites by Filippo Lippi in the cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence. Destroyed by fire, 1771. A fragment uncovered in 1860 survives in place.
  • School of Fra Angelico. Last Judgment (1456). Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Fresco of the Flagellation by Andrea del Castagno in the cloister of the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence, destroyed in the 17th century.
  • Frescoes of the life of the Virgin (1450-1452) begun by Domenico Veneziano and completed by Andrea del Castagno in the church of Sant' Egidio, Florence. Destroyed in the 18th century.
  • Altarpiece with scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas by Antonello da Messina for the Confraternity of San Nicolò della Montagna in Messina. Seen by Cavalcaselle in 1871. Destroyed in the 1908 Messina earthquake.
  • Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints John the Evangelist, Francis, Jerome and John the Baptist (c. 1496) by Ghirlandaio. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Several original paintings on "pagan" subjects by Sandro Botticelli, who burned them in the Bonfire of the Vanities.
  • Altarpiece for the church of Santa Maria dei Battuti in Belluno (c. 1485) by Alvise Vivarini. Destroyed by fire in Berlin during World War II.
  • Frescoes, including a Baptism of Christ for the Belvedere Chapel of the Vatican (1488) by Andrea Mantegna. Destroyed under Pope Pius VI to permit construction of the Pio-Clementino Museum, 1780.
  • Saint Catherine of Siena Altarpiece (Sacra Conversazione) by Giovanni Bellini in the Chapel of the Rosary of the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. Destroyed by fire in 1867.
  • The Supper at Emmaus (c. 1494) by Giovanni Bellini. Painted for Giorgio Cornaro of Venice. Destroyed by fire in Vienna in the 18th c.
  • Fresco, Ascension with Christ in Glory (c.1478-80) by Melozzo da Forli for the choir of the Church of the Santi Apostoli in Rome. Destroyed in 1711 for the enlargement of the choir, 1711. Fragments survive in the Vatican and Quirinal.
  • The Court of Pan, by Signorelli. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Fresco of Madonna and Saints for the Tower of Cittâ di Castello (1474) by Signorelli. Destroyed by earthquake in 1789.
  • Adoration of the Magi fresco by Perugino for the convent of S. Giusto alla Mura.
  • The lower left panel of Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece, titled The Just Judges, was stolen in 1934 and is now lost.
  • The Justice of Trajan and the Justice of Herkenbald by Rogier van der Weyden. Painted for the 'Gulden Camere' (Golden Chamber) of the Brussels Town Hall. The first dated 1439. Destroyed in the French bombardment of Brussels in 1695.
  • Descent from the Cross altarpiece by Jan Mabuse executed for the church of Middelburg. Destroyed by fire, 1568.
  • Tapestries of the Great History of Troy (c. 1475) for the Painted Chamber of the Palace of Westminster, London. Removed 1820 and sold for ten pounds sterling to a London merchant. Presumed destroyed.

16th century

  • The Trial of Saint Stephen by Vittore Carpaccio. A drawing for the modello survives in the Uffizi.
  • Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Faustinus and Jovita, patron saints of Brescia (the Averoldi Altarpiece) by Carpaccio. Formerly sacristy of S. Giovanni Evangelista, Brescia. Sold to the National Gallery London, lost in a shipwreck crossing the English Channel.
  • Assumption of the Virgin (c.1507-08) by Fra Bartolommeo. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturn following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Medusa (before 1500, unfinished) by Leonardo da Vinci. In the collection of Cosimo I of Tuscany, 1553. Lost since the end of the 16th century.
  • Leda and the Swan (1508) by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci (Palazzo Vecchio)
  • Cartoon by Michelangelo of the battle of Cascina, Palazzo Vecchio, putatively destroyed by Bandinelli
  • A painting of Leda and the Swan (circa 1530) by Michelangelo. Given by the artist to his friend Antonio Mini who took it to France, where it disappeared.
  • A marble Cupid by Michelangelo, later owned by Isabella d'Este and Charles I of England. Destroyed in a fire at Whitehall Palace, London, 1698.
  • A marble Hercules by Michelangelo, his first free-standing statue (c. 1492-94). Installed in the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 1506, sent to France in the 16th century. Lost in the 18th century.
  • A bronze statue of David resting his foot on the severed head of Goliath, by Michelangelo.
  • Altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with St. Mary Magdalen and St. Lucy (Madonna of Albinea) by Antonio da Correggio.
  • Fresco of The Coronation of the Virgin for the church of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, by Correggio. Destroyed 1587. Fragments in National Gallery, London, other museums.
  • Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael. Confiscated by the Nazis, now lost [1].
  • Baronci altarpiece (the Crowning of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino) by Raphael. His first recorded commission, it was made for Andrea Baronci's chapel in the church of Sant'Agostino in Citta di Castello, near Urbino. Destroyed in an 18th c. earthquake. At least four fragments survive (Louvre, Capodimonte).
  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Raphael. Formerly owned by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. Depicted in an engraving by Wenceslas Hollar. Presumed lost.
  • The Wedding of Neptune and Amphitrite, silver bowl by Cellini. Taken from the Chapter of the Basilica of Santa Barbara, Modena, by the French, 1796. Presumed lost.
  • Ascension of Mary altarpiece (The ‘Heller altar’) by Dürer. The central panel added to the collection of Elector Maximilian of Bavaria, later lost in a fire in 1729.
  • Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, Virgin and Child with Four Female Saints, and Madonna and Child with Infant Saint John by Cranach the Elder. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturn following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Duke Henry of Saxony by Cranach the Elder. Destroyed by enemy action in Dresden, February 1945.
  • Lucrece and Judith (Lucas Cranach the Elder pendant paintings), both in the Dresden bombings
  • Market Day by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Depicted in the 17th c. gallery of Cornelis van der Geest painted by Willem van Hoecht.
  • The Farmers Brawl by Breughel the Elder. Destroyed by enemy action in Dresden, February 1945.
  • Hans Holbein the Younger's Whitehall Mural of Henry VIII and family in Whitehall Palace, London, destroyed by fire in 1698.
  • The Family of Sir Thomas More by Holbein. Destroyed by fire at Kremsier Castle, the Moravian residence of Carl von Liechtenstein, archbishop of Olmutz, 1752.
  • The Goldsmith Hans von Zurich by Holbein. Copied by Lucas Vosterman. Engraved by Wenceslas Hollar. Presumed lost.
  • Various works of Titian (including his Battle of Spoleto, Battle of Cadore and Doge Gritti Praying to the Virgin), Tintoretto (his Coronation of Frederick Barbarossa, Excommunication of Barbarossa, and Last Judgment), Paolo Veronese (his Homage of Frederick Barbarossa), Gentile da Fabriano, Pisanello, Carpaccio (his Battle of Ancona), Alvise Vivarini (Otho Promising to Mediate Between Venice and Barbarossa), Guariento (his Paradise), Gentile Bellini (his Battle of Salvore and Presentation of the White Candle to the Pope) and Giovanni Bellini (his Presentation of the Eight Standards and Trumpets to the Doge) were lost in a fire at the Doge's Palace in Venice in 1577.
  • Portrait of Isabella d’Este in Red by Titian. A copy by Rubens is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
  • Martyrdom of St Peter (Titian, Santi Giovanni e Paolo) (fire).
  • Double Portrait of Emperor Charles V and his wife Isabella of Portugal by Titian. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734. A copy by Rubens survives.
  • Penitent Magdalene by Titian. Painted for Philip II of Spain, 1561. Destroyed in a fire at Bath House, London, January 21, 1873.
  • Ixion and Tantalus by Titian. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Paintings of The Twelve Caesars, by Titian. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Venus in Front of her Mirror by Titian. Lost from the Spanish royal collection in the 19th century. A copy by Rubens survives.
  • Apollo and Juno and Saturn Helps Religion to Overcome Heresy by Veronese. Painted c. 1580 for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Fresco of God the Father and the Four Evangelists by Pontormo in the Capponi Chapel, Church of Santa Felicita, Florence. Destroyed in 18th century remodeling.
  • Last Judgement Cartoons, (Pontormo, San Lorenzo) covered over.

17th century

  • Equestrian bronze statue of Henry IV of France by Giovanni da Bologna. Presented to Marie de Medicis by Cosimo II of Tuscany in 1614. Melted for cannon during the French Revolution.
  • Time Saving Truth from Envy and Discord by Nicolas Poussin.
  • Penance, one of the seven Sacraments (1637-40) by Nicolas Poussin, destroyed by fire at Belvoir Castle in 1816.
  • Queen Esther Approaching the Palace of Ahasuerus (1658) by Claude Lorrain. Destroyed in a fire at Fonthill Abbey, 1755.
  • Saint Job Triptych by Rubens (1613). Destroyed in the French bombardment of Brussels, 1695.
  • Cambyses Appointing Otanes Judge by Rubens. Decoration for the Magistrates' Hall, Brussels.Destroyed in the French bombardment of Brussels, 1695.
  • Satyr, Nymph, Putti and Leopards by Rubens (1618). Now known only from engraving.
  • Crucifixion with Mary, St. John, Magdalen, by Rubens (1622). Destroyed by English Parliamentarians in the Queen's Chapel, Somerset House, London, 1643.
  • Equestrian Portrait of the Archduke Albert by Rubens.
  • Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV of Spain by Rubens. Destroyed in the Alcazar royal palace fire, Madrid, 1734. A copy is in the Uffizi Gallery.
  • The Continence of Scipio by Rubens. Destroyed by fire in the Western Exchange, Old Bond Street, London, March 1836.
  • Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Buckingham by Rubens. Later owned by the Earl of Jersey at Osterley Park. Destroyed by fire in 1949.
  • Series of 39 ceiling paintings for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp, designed by Rubens, largely executed by Van Dyck. Destroyed by fire in 1718.
  • Group portrait of the Town Council of Brussels by Van Dyck. Destroyed in the bombardment of Brussels, 1695.
  • Christ Crowned with Thorns, Lamentation over Christ, Nymphs Surprised by Satyrs, and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist by Van Dyck. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Birth of Christ by Gerrit van Honthorst. Destroyed in the car bombing of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, May 1993.
  • The Circumcision (1646) by Rembrandt.
  • Bentheim Castle with Christ and Disciples on the Road to Emmaus by Jacob van Ruisdael. Destroyed by fire at the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam, 1864.
  • Large family portrait by Carel Fabritius. Destroyed by fire at the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam, 1864.
  • Sleeping Man by Aelbert Cuyp. Destroyed by fire at the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam, 1864.
  • A ‘Gentleman washing his hands in a see-through room (half-door) with sculptures, artful and rare,’ by Vermeer, listed in the catalogue of the Dissius auction, Holland, 1696.
  • The Inspiration of Matthew first version by Caravaggio (~1601) (Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.)
  • Christ on the Mount of Olives by Caravaggio (1605). From the collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • Fillide Melandroni (c.1597) by Caravaggio. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • A portrait of Alof de Wignacourt by Caravaggio.
  • Saint John, Saint Francis, and a Resurrection, by Caravaggio, done for Sant’Anna dei Lombardi, Naples. Destroyed in an earthquake, 1798.
  • The Conversion of Saint Paul altarpiece by Orazio Gentileschi, done for the basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. Destroyed by fire, 1823.
  • The Stoning of Saint Stephen altarpiece by Lavinia Fontana, done for the basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. Destroyed by fire, 1823.
  • La Buonavventura and Ciclo Vito by Bartolomeo Manfredi. Destroyed in the car bombing of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, May 1993.
  • Danae by Annibale Carracci. Formerly Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II.
  • Saint Gregory Praying for Souls in Purgatory (c.1600), altarpiece painted by Annibale Caracci for the church of San Gregorio Magno, Rome. Formerly Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II.
  • Descent from the Cross by Ludovico Carracci. Formerly Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II.
  • Bacchus and Ariadne by Guido Reni. Commissioned for Queen Henrietta Maria's house at Greenwich, 1637. Destroyed in the English civil war.
  • Immaculate Conception by Guido Reni. Formerly Cathedral of Seville, Spain, later in the Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II.
  • Bust of Charles I by Bernini, in marble. Destroyed in the Whitehall Palace fire, London, 1698.
  • Crucified Christ by Bernini, in bronze. Formerly in the French royal collection. Destroyed in the French Revolution.
  • Expulsion of the Moors with Philip III (1627) by Velasquez. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Venus and Adonis by Velasquez. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Cupid and Psyche by Velasquez. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Apollo and Marsyas by Velasquez. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
  • Saint Bonaventure Reveals the Crucifix to Saint Thomas Aquinas by Zurbarán. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
  • William III Leading Troops at the Battle of the Boyne by Godfrey Kneller. Destroyed by fire in Grocers' Hall, London, September 22, 1965.

18th century

  • The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace in Russia was lost during World War II.
  • The Drawing Lesson and A Girl Reciting her Gospel by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.
  • Decorations for the Chateau de la Muette: the Goddess Ki Mao Sao in the Kingdom of Mang in the country of Laos, by Watteau(engraved c. 1719). Demolished at the Revolution.
  • Spring (Printemps), one of a series of four paintings of the Seasons, painted by Watteau for the banker Pierre Crozat. Rediscovered 1964, destroyed by fire two years later. "Autumn" and "Winter" from the series remain unaccounted for.
  • The original paintings of A Harlot's Progress (1731) by William Hogarth were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill Abbey in 1755, but the engravings (1732) survive.
  • Fresco of The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto by Gianbattista Tiepolo in the Church of the Scalzi, Venice. Destroyed by enemy action (Austrian shell), 1915.
  • Ceiling frescoes of The Triumph of the Arts and Sciences, Apollo and Phaethon, Perseus and Andromeda, and Juno with Fortuna and Venus by Tiepolo in the Palazzo Archinto, Milan. Destroyed by bombardment in World War II.
  • Gainsborough's whole-length of David Garrick leaning on a bust of Shakespeare, painted for the Stratford Shakespeare Jubilee (1766) was destroyed in a fire at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall in 1946.
  • The Woodman and his Dog in a Storm (1787) by Gainsborough. Destroyed by fire in 1810. A 1791 mezzotint by Pierre Simon exists.
  • The Destruction of Niobe's Children by Richard Wilson. Formerly National Gallery, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II, 1944.
  • Bust of the composer Gluck in marble by Jean-Antoine Houdon. Destroyed by fire at the Paris Opera, 1784. Terra cotta versions exist.
  • The Eidophusikon (1781) by Philip James de Loutherbourg.
  • Le Pelletier on his Death Bed (1793) by Jacques-Louis David.

19th Century

  • Don Antonio de Porcel (1806) by Goya. Destroyed in a fire in the Jockey Club, Buenos Aires, 1956.
  • George Washington Seated, in Roman dress, marble sculpture by Canova, destroyed by fire in the North Carolina State House, Raleigh, 1831. The artist's plaster model survives.
  • Winter (1807-08) by Caspar David Friedrich. Destroyed in the Munich Glass Palace fire, 1931.
  • Monastery Graveyard in the Snow (1817-18) by Caspar David Friedrich. Destroyed in World War II air raids in Germany.
  • The Mouth of the Thames (1807) by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II.
  • Fish Market on the Sands (1830) by Turner. Formerly owned by Billy Rose. Destroyed by fire, 1956.
  • Aeneas Relating his Story to Dido (1850) by Turner.
  • Mississippi River Panorama (1840-46) by John Banvard. Promoted as a 'three-mile canvas', though it was only approximately half a mile (800 m) long. Banvard gave the panorama many showings, including one to Queen Victoria. It is thought to have been cut up into pieces towards the end of the 19th century.
  • Washington Crossing the Delaware (1849-50) (first version) by Emanuel Leutze. Destroyed in an air raid on Bremen, 1942.
  • Apotheosis of Napoleon I by Ingres. Ceiling painting for the Hotel de Ville, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
  • The Storming of the Bastille (1830) by Paul Delaroche. Painted for the Hotel de Ville, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
  • Justinian Drafting his Laws (1826) by Eugène Delacroix. Painted for the Council of State, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
  • Peace Consoles Mankind and Brings Abundance (1852-54) by Delacroix. Painted for the Hall of Peace at the Hotel de Ville, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
  • The Stone-breakers, by Courbet, destroyed in transit from the Dresden Gallery in World War II.
  • The Return from the Conference (1863) by Courbet. Destroyed 1909 by its owner due to its anticlerical content.
  • Venus and Psyche (1864) by Courbet. Destroyed by enemy air action, Berlin, 1945.
  • Still Life: Vase with Five Sunflowers (1888) by Van Gogh. Formerly in the collection of Koyata Yamamoto, Japan. Destroyed by American air raids on Ashiya District, August 5-6, 1945.
  • The Painter on his Way to Work by Van Gogh. Formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum, Berlin. Destroyed by fire in World War II.
  • The Park at Arles with the Entrance Seen Through the Trees (1888) by Van Gogh. Destroyed by fire in World War II.
  • The Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV (1888) by Van Gogh. Declared degenerate and confiscated by the Nazis in 1937. Whereabouts unknown.
  • Hen with Sapphire Pendant (1886), a Fabergé egg.
  • Cherub with Chariot (1888), a Fabergé egg.
  • Necessaire (1889), a Fabergé egg.
  • Alexander III Portraits (1896), a Fabergé egg.
  • Mauve (1898), a Fabergé egg.

20th century

Works destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks

Many works of art were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.

Works destroyed in the Momart fire

Many works by Britartists in the Saatchi collection, as well as work by other artists in different collections, were destroyed in the Momart warehouse fire in Leyton, East London, on May 24, 2004.

See also




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