I enjoy quotes. These are some that I noticed in the newspaper that Hobby Lobby had taken out for a July 4th ad. In recent decades I have heard and read somediscussion questioning just how religious the founding fathers were. I have read a number were diests. That may some truth but revisionist historians continue to try and persuade us that most of them were indeed deists. I disagree. A deist is one that does not deny a supreme being, but may have serious doubt about the Creator intervening in the affairs of mankind. Miracles would be very suspect. From my understanding a deist would have trouble believing God works directly in the affairs of people or individuals, much less answer ones prayers. I have also read that many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were wealthy, which is true, but that they were mainly concerned with protecting their wealth as any good business person would do. I believe the following quotes reveal they had more of a relationship, and therefore faith, iin a Creator than recent historiacal revision will credit.
There has also been much debate about their view of seperation of church and state. They may have wanted to protect any new government from having to be under submission to one state religion such as the Anglican(Church of England) back in Britain, but there is no evidence they wanted a citizenry that denied the existence of God. I believe they wanted the land to be filled with God fearing people; a land where the people were free to pursue God. I hope we are not too quick to throw away our heritage that America was formed when indeed many or the people or at least the majority were believers in God. I hope we strive to keep it that way.
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” – George Washington
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”- Thomas Jefferson
“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We’ve been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”- Benjamin Franklin
Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord Psalms 33:12
In May of 2010 art thieves stole a handful of paintings from a Paris museum and a residence in Southern France. Their value is estimated at over 100 million dollars. Video surveillance showed the heist in Paris to have been a lone intruder. The security system was not working leaving investigators to suspect the culprit may have had some inside help. After hearing the news I asked myself, “How does one ever sell stolen art?” I also wondered, “How do art detectives recover such lost treasures?”
Occasionally art is stolen by a disgruntled employee or someone who has a passion for a particular piece of art: painting or sculptor. Maybe some rich control freak with an obsessive compulsion drive to collect art hires and plans such schemes. Who knows? I think the reason is usually greed: the money. But that’s the problem. This type of art is big money. You cannot just transfer a bunch of money from one country to another, including Switzerland, without authorities being able to track it. It is also probably hard to exchange large sums of cash without a high risk of being detected. I suspect this type of theft was well planned and with more than one person involved. It is also probable that the stolen pieces will be sold for a fraction of their worth to crime syndicates such as large drug smuggling outfits. The paintings could be hidden away for many years before they are found. For example, art stolen in World War II continues to occasionally surface. Those who try to sell such works at some point in the future hopefully will be caught. Unfortunately, there always seem to be those individuals who are willing to risk the stealing and selling.
Movies to a certain degree even glamorize the thieves: The Thomas Crown Affair, with Steve McQueen; Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief; The Pink Panther with Peter Sellers, are several that come straight to my mind. However, what about those individuals that attempt to recover stolen art and catch the thieves? There have been numerous detective and mystery shows for decades where the bad guys are caught but what is it like for a real art detective?
A book review article in the New York Times by Velma Daniels (I think it was May 30, 2010) covered this very subject. The article highlighted the fact that a book was just recently published, The Art Detective, subtitled, Fakes, Frauds, and Finds, and the Search for Lost Treasures. The timing could not have been better.
The author, Philip Mould, owns a London art gallery, is an art consultant to British Parliament, and is an art sleuth. To those who work within art communities he considered by many to be, “The Art Detective.” The New York Times article pointed out that Mr. Mould often appears on Antiques Roadshow, which I thoroughly enjoy watching. The BBC is currently making a film about his exploits titled, “Art Sleuth.” I will be on the lookout for this production and I hope to see him at some point on Antiques Roadshow. I also hope he is helping with the investigation in the Paris heist. Since Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is no longer with us, we need all the help we can get. Go get ‘em Inspector Mould.
On the board game Treasure Trove one of the situation cards rewards the player drawing the card 10 million for helping to retrieve stolen art. I encourage you to take a moment and investigate the website displaying the game.