The Museum of Stolen Art is an online museum that showcases artwork that has been destroyed or stolen in conflict. The new museum couldn’t exist at a better time as ISIS destroys sites of great importance to humanity, and before them the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed a lot of ancient sites. War always brings destruction and the invasion of Iraq over a decade ago also saw many works of art destroyed or go missing.
By showcasing the missing works we can still enjoy them digitally and hopefully it sends one more message about how evil war is.
The third exhibit to launch the museum “celebrates” some of art history’s most infamous stolen paintings, including Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Vermeer’s The Concert, and many of the works lifted during a 1990 spree at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. While taking a digital stroll through the museum, patrons can access an audio guide to learn more about the history of the pieces. As Schneider’s website states “The goals of the museum are to give visibility to art that is otherwise impossible to see on a museum wall, and also to familiarize the public with stolen items in order to assist in the their recovery.” Schneider hopes that this tool will eventually be used as a supplementary database for organizations like the FBI and Interpol in fighting art crime. The images on her site are often culled from their vast web archives, and, as the digital docent at the Museum says on the site, “If you see any of these works in real life, please report it to the International Police.”