ArtSlant – A Brief and Incomplete History of Stolen, Lost, and Destroyed Works of Art
A work of art that’s been stolen attains a tantalizing aura of mystery, a legendary status that grows with each hour of absence. A destroyed or a lost work of art can sometimes attain that level of mythos, as long as we are aware of its significance before it’s disappeared. But most art, in fact, most of the art that has ever been made throughout history, is simply lost and forgotten, and we don’t even realize it. Ancient art that was intended to last for eternity is slowly eroding, and contemporary artists now incorporate ephemerality into their works in acceptance of the fact that nothing lasts forever…
75,000 years ago: All the artworks made by people around this time have been destroyed or are lost. Besides some drilled snail shells that were found in a cave in South Africa, everything else is probably gone or stuck in a rock or underground somewhere.
40,000 years ago: Some petroglyphs remain, but maybe some art works that are still extant we don’t even recognize as art because we don’t know how to interpret them.