There are few things that are quite as sad as losing a true work of art to either a natural disaster, a fire, or even war. Over the last few centuries, there have been a number of pieces of art that have been lost to the ages; pieces that we will never be able to get back, but that many still remember.
Although they can never truly be brought back, we can learn from the loss and ensure that future and current works of art are never lost again, and that they are always preserved well.
1. Roman Frescos
For many decades, historians believed that most Roman cities and towns were made up of white, marble walls and buildings. It’s not hard to see why they believed it for so long, as most of the preserved buildings we have today have a white coating.
But recently it was discovered that, in fact, natural disasters are to blame, specifically volcanoes. In reality, the Romans valued colour and art highly, and their cities were great works of art on their own.
2. Washington Crossing The Delaware
Created by Emanuel Leutze in 1850, this incredible painting depicted General George Washington pushing through the icy waters on the Delaware River as they prepared for the ambush at the battle of Trenton.
Although the scene can still be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the original has since been lost to a fire that swept through Leutze’s home in 1850.
3. The Stone Breakers
The Stone Breakers is a painting of two miners toiling away, and was one of the best examples of early realism. This work, along with a number of others, were acquired by Max Heinrich Eduard Proll-Heuer of Germany.
When the Second World War began to end in 1945, bombings from the Allies raised much of the area where the paintings had been stored, and many of them destroyed by the initial bombings or later by the fires that resulted. Today, such a piece would be worth a fortune, and you could well spend your jackpot win from playing bingo games for Australians on a similar painting.
4. Le Peintre
In September of 1998, a Swissair jet called in an emergency: an electrical fire had started in the cockpit, which ultimately caused the jet to fall into the ocean, where the crew and 229 passengers all lost their lives.
The tragedy didn’t end there, however, as a work by famous artist Pablo Picasso, dubbed Le Peintre, had been on board the plane. Due to it not being regarded as precious cargo, the box it was in was not waterproof, and was destroyed as the plane sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
5. Unknown Oil Painting
Lucian Freud’s work exploded in the early 2000s, and suddenly the entire art world was bustling to acquire one of his pieces. Their value skyrocketed into the millions and were being sent around the world. One in particular had been accidentally put on a discarding floor at a loading terminal, where two workers took the box and destroyed it and the painting in the shredder.