Daily Devotionals

 

 

HAN VAN MEEGEREN

January 21, 2022

 

An Amazing Fact: Han van Meegeren was one of the greatest art forgers of all time. He was so good that after being convicted of treason for selling what seemed liked authentic paintings to the Germans during World War II, he was required to paint a forgery to prove his innocence.



From childhood, van Meegeren wanted to be a famous artist. But critics denounced his work and, according to the budding artist, destroyed his career. So he came up with a plan to show others his skills. He forged paintings of some of the world’s greatest artists.

It worked. Soon his replications were regarded as some of the most superb in the world. His greatest copies were of the famous Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Slowly, his desire for praise led him into greed. His tireless attention to detail, faking cracks and aging paints, drove him to keep his work a secret.

But van Meegeren made a major mistake. During World War II, wealthy Dutchmen who wanted to prevent the Nazis from purchasing Dutch artwork began snatching up the artist’s forgeries. Unfortunately, one fake painting ended up in the hands of a German officer and, after the war, it was discovered and traced back to van Meegeren. Since the piece was considered authentic, the artist was sentenced to death for being a conspirator and selling a “national treasure.”

In order to save his life, van Meegeren confessed that he had painted a forgery. The courts did not believe him, and he eventually forged another painting in front of authorities to prove his “innocence.” After this he was given a one-year sentence in prison. Han van Meegeren never served his term. Before being incarcerated, he died of a heart attack.

False witnesses painted a forged picture of Christ when Jesus stood before the Jewish leaders at an unlawful trial. The Sanhedrin court was so thirsty for blood that they hired bogus “witnesses” to testify against Christ. None of their contrived stories agreed. Finally, a statement made by Jesus was snatched and twisted into evidence of blasphemy against God. With this twisted shred, the Lord was led to Pilate and then the cross.

If you want to see an authentic portrait of God, study carefully the pages of Scripture, especially the gospels—where Jesus says, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). The life of Christ is more than a copy of His Father. He never once spoke a lie about God for He and the Father were One.

Additional reading: Proverbs 19:1–14

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
"A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape."

Proverbs 19:5