Lost artworks are original pieces of art that credible sources indicate once existed but that cannot be accounted for in museums or private collections or are known to have been destroyed deliberately or accidentally, or neglected through ignorance and lack of connoisseurship.
The Regisole, an equestrian monument to Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, erected at Ravenna. Moved to Pavia in the Middle Ages, it stood before the cathedral. Destroyed by the Jacobin Club in Pavia in 1796, because considered as a symbol of monarchy.
Panels of the great Maestà altarpiece of Duccio di Buoninsegna, painted for the Duomo of Siena and representing the Coronation of the Virgin, Virgin of the Assumption, Ascension of Christ and Christ in Majesty are missing and presumed lost.
Giotto's allegorical fresco of the Commune of Florence portrayed as a seated judge with sceptre, flanked by figures of Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance, painted for the Palazzo del Podestà, now the Bargello, Florence. Described by Giorgio Vasari.
Fresco of the Confirmation of the Rules of the Carmelites by Filippo Lippi in the cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence. Destroyed by fire, 1771. A fragment uncovered in 1860 survives in place.
Frescoes of the life of the Virgin (1450–1452) begun by Domenico Veneziano and completed by Andrea del Castagno in the church of Sant' Egidio (Santa Maria Nuova), Florence. Destroyed 1594.
Fresco cycle of the life of Santa Rosa, painted by Benozzo Gozzoli for the church of Santa Rosa, Viterbo. Destroyed by 1632 renovations to the church. Autograph and other drawings and a contemporary description survive.
Altarpiece with scenes from the life of Saint Nicholas by Antonello da Messina for the Confraternity of San Nicolò della Montagna in Messina. Seen by Cavalcaselle in 1871. Destroyed in the 1908 Messina earthquake.
Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints John the Evangelist, Francis, Jerome and John the Baptist (c. 1496) by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Portrait of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici (c. 1478) by Botticelli. Formerly Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri, Naples. Destroyed in World War II. Photographs survive.
Frescoes on mythological themes, including the Forge of Vulcan, executed by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi and Perugino for Lorenzo de' Medici in the great hall and external loggia of his villa at Spedaletto, near Volterra, 1487-90. Damaged by damp and finally destroyed by fire in the early 19th century.
The Supper at Emmaus (c. 1494) by Giovanni Bellini. Painted for Giorgio Cornaro of Venice. Destroyed by fire in Vienna in the 18th century.
Fresco, Ascension with Christ in Glory (c. 1478-80) by Melozzo da Forlì for the choir of the Church of the Santi Apostoli, Rome. Destroyed in 1711 for the enlargement of the choir, 1711. Fragments survive in the Vatican and Quirinal.
The Court of Pan by Luca Signorelli. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Fresco of Madonna and Saints for the Tower of Città di Castello (1474) by Signorelli. Destroyed by earthquake in 1789.
Frescoes of The Calumny of Apelles and The Feast of Pan by Signorelli. Painted for the audience chamber (Camera delle Torre) of the Palazzo Petrucci (Palazzo del Magnifico), Siena.
Adoration of the Magi fresco by Perugino for the convent of S. Giusto alla Mura.Destroyed in preparation for the defense of the city during the Siege of Florence in 1529.
Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Donor by Van Eyck (c. 1441). Painted for Nicholas van Maelbeke, provost of St. Martin's Cathedral, Ypres. Removed from the cathedral and lost during the French occupation of The Netherlands, 1792–1815. A 1629 copy was acquired by the Bruges museum in 2007.
Crucifixion by Petrus Christus (attributed) (c. 1444). Formerly Dessau Museum. Destroyed by bombing in World War II.
The Justice of Trajan and the Justice of Herkenbald by Rogier van der Weyden. Painted for the 'Gulden Camere' (Golden Chamber) of the Brussels Town Hall. The first dated 1439. Destroyed in the French Bombardment of Brussels in 1695.
Descent from the Cross altarpiece by Jan Mabuse executed for the church of Middelburg. Destroyed by fire, 1568.
Tapestries of the Great History of Troy (c. 1475) for the Painted Chamber of the Palace of Westminster, London. Removed 1820 and sold for ten pounds sterling to a London merchant. Presumed destroyed.
A terracotta statue of a horse (part of the monument to duke Francesco Sforza) by Leonardo da Vinci destroyed by French soldiers during the occupation of Milan in 1499.
Frescos by Pisanello representing hunting scenes in the Castle of Pavia, detroyed by French soldiers in 1527.
The Trial of Saint Stephen by Vittore Carpaccio. One of a series of five canvases for the Scuola di San Stefano, Venice. Untraced after 1806. A drawing for the modello survives in the Uffizi.
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Faustinus and Jovita, patron saints of Brescia (the Averoldi Altarpiece) by Carpaccio. Formerly sacristy of S. Giovanni Evangelista, Brescia. Sold to the National Gallery London, lost in a shipwreck crossing the English Channel.
Assumption of the Virgin (c. 1507-08) by Fra Bartolomeo. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturn following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
A marble Hercules by Michelangelo, his first free-standing statue (c. 1492-94). Installed in the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 1506, sent to France in the 16th century. Disappeared from the French royal palace of Fontainebleau in the 18th century.
A bronze statue of David resting his foot on the severed head of Goliath, by Michelangelo.
A bronze statue of pope Julius II in the act of blessing by Michelangelo on San Petronio basilica's facade in Bologna, destroyed by the people of Bologna in 1511.
Altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with St. Mary Magdalen and St. Lucy (Madonna of Albinea) by Antonio da Correggio.
Fresco of The Coronation of the Virgin for the church of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma, by Correggio. Destroyed 1587. Fragments in National Gallery, London, other museums.
Baronci altarpiece (the Crowning of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino) by Raphael. His first recorded commission, it was made for Andrea Baronci's chapel in the church of Sant'Agostino in Citta di Castello, near Urbino. Destroyed in an 18th-century earthquake. At least four fragments survive (Louvre, Capodimonte).
The Wedding of Neptune and Amphitrite silver bowl by Cellini. Taken from the Chapter of the Basilica of Santa Barbara, Modena, by the French, 1796. Presumed lost.
Ascension of Mary altarpiece (The ‘Heller altar’) by Dürer. The central panel added to the collection of Elector Maximilian of Bavaria, later lost in a fire in 1729.
Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz, Virgin and Child with Four Female Saints and Madonna and Child with Infant Saint John by Cranach the Elder. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturn following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Duke Henry of Saxony by Cranach the Elder. Destroyed during the Bombing of Dresden, February 1945.
Market Day by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Depicted in the 17th-century gallery of Cornelis van der Geest painted by Willem van Hoecht.
The Farmers Brawl by Breughel the Elder. Destroyed during the Bombing of Dresden, February 1945.
Penitent Magdalene by Titian. Painted for Philip II of Spain, 1561. Destroyed in a fire at Bath House, London, January 21, 1873.
Ixion and Tantalus by Titian. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
Paintings of The Twelve Caesars by Titian. Destroyed in the Alcazar palace fire, Madrid, 1734.
Venus in Front of her Mirror by Titian. Lost from the Spanish royal collection in the 19th century. A copy by Rubens survives.
Apollo and Juno and Saturn Helps Religion to Overcome Heresy by Veronese. Painted c. 1580 for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Fresco of God the Father and the Four Evangelists by Pontormo in the Capponi Chapel, Church of Santa Felicita, Florence. Destroyed in 18th-century remodeling.
Vision of Saint Hubert by Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Allegories of Sight and Smell and Allegories of Hearing, Taste and Touch by Jan Brueghel the Elder and other artists. Destroyed in the Coudenberg Palace fire, Brussels, 1731.
Group Portrait of the Town Council of Brussels by Van Dyck. Destroyed in the Bombardment of Brussels, 1695.
Christ Crowned with Thorns, Lamentation over Christ, Nymphs Surprised by Satyrs and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist by Van Dyck. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Saint Gregory Praying for Souls in Purgatory (c. 1600), altarpiece painted by Annibale Caracci for the church of San Gregorio Magno, Rome. Formerly Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, Westminster, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II, May 11, 1941.
Descent from the Cross by Ludovico Carracci. Formerly Ellesmere collection, Bridgewater House, Westminster, London. Destroyed by enemy action in World War II, May 11, 1941.
Bacchus and Ariadne by Guido Reni. Commissioned for Queen Henrietta Maria's house at Greenwich, 1637. Destroyed in France in the 17th century by the widow of Michel Particelli d'Hemery, who was scandalized by the female nudes it contained. A fragment with the head of Ariadne survives.
Still Life with Copper Kettle, Bowl with Eggs (1724–25), by Chardin. Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Decorations for the Chateau de la Muette: the Goddess Ki Mao Sao in the Kingdom of Mang in the country of Laos, by Watteau (engraved c. 1719). Demolished at the Revolution.
Spring (Printemps), one of a series of four paintings of the Seasons, painted by Watteau for the banker Pierre Crozat. Rediscovered 1964, destroyed by fire two years later. Autumn and Winter from the series remain unaccounted for.
Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn (1738) by Hogarth was destroyed by fire at Littleton House in December 1874. An engraving by the artist survives.
Fresco of The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto by Gianbattista Tiepolo in the Church of the Scalzi, Venice. Destroyed by enemy action (Austrian shell), 1915.
Frescoes by Gianbattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo glorifying the Soderini family, Villa Soderini, Nervesa della Battaglia, in the Veneto (c. 1754) were totally destroyed during an Italo-Austrian engagement in the First World War, June 15–19, 1918.
Ceiling frescoes of The Triumph of the Arts and Sciences, Apollo and Phaethon, Perseus and Andromeda and Juno with Fortuna and Venus by Gianbattista Tiepolo in the Palazzo Archinto, Milan. Destroyed by bombardment in World War II.
Large seated portraits of the first three U.S. presidents, Washington, Adams, and Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart were destroyed in a fire at the Library of Congress, December 24, 1851.
"George Washington Seated, in Roman dress", marble sculpture by Canova, destroyed by fire in the North Carolina State House, Raleigh, 1831. The artist's plaster model survives.
Winter (1807–08), The Farewell (1818), The Harbor at Grifswald (c. 1820), Autumn Landscape with Brush Collector (1824), and Evening (1825), by Caspar David Friedrich. Destroyed in the Glaspalast (Munich) fire, 1931.
Mountain Chapel in the Mist (1811), Monastery Graveyard in the Snow (1817–18), High Mountain Region (1824), and Northern Lights (1830–35) by Caspar David Friedrich.Destroyed by fire in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, following the capture of Berlin, May 1945.
Fish Market on the Sands (1830) by Turner. Formerly owned by Billy Rose. Destroyed by fire, 1956.
Aeneas Relating his Story to Dido (1850) by Turner.
War and Peace (1846) by Sir Edwin Landseer. Destroyed in the basement of the Tate Gallery during the Thames flood, January 1928.
Mississippi River Panorama (1840–46) by John Banvard. Promoted as a 'three-mile canvas', though it was only approximately half a mile (800 m) long. Banvard gave the panorama many showings, including one to Queen Victoria. It is thought to have been cut up into pieces towards the end of the 19th century.
Washington Crossing the Delaware (1849–50) (first version) by Emanuel Leutze. Destroyed in an air raid on Bremen, 1942.
The Storming of the Bastille (1830) by Paul Delaroche. Painted for the Hotel de Ville, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
Justinian Drafting his Laws (1826) by Eugène Delacroix. Painted for the Council of State, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871. An 1855 photograph survives.
Peace Consoles Mankind and Brings Abundance (1852–54) by Delacroix. Painted for the Hall of Peace at the Hotel de Ville, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871.
Murals of War and Peace (1848) by Théodore Chassériau. Painted for the Cour des Comptes, Palais of the Quai d'Orsay, Paris. Destroyed by fire in the Paris Commune, 1871. A fragment of Peace is preserved in the Louvre.
The Jewish Captivity in Babylon by Jean-François Millet. Submitted for the Paris Salon, 1848. Painted over by the artist with a scene executed in Normandy in 1870-71.
The Return from the Conference (1863) by Courbet. Destroyed 1909 by its owner due to its anticlerical content.
Venus and Psyche (1864) by Courbet. Destroyed by enemy air action, Berlin, 1945.
Various pieces designed by William Burges for his house, The Tower House, have been lost. These include a white jade tazza and a salt cellar, both made in 1875, a sideboard and a display cabinet (1875-76), a mounted orange and a pair of buffets (1877), a pair of mirrors (c.1878), a mounted shell and a dressing table (1879), bronze frogs (1880), and a bronze; "Fame" (1880-81).
Donkey Cart with Boy and Scheveningen Woman (1882) by Van Gogh. Destroyed by fire in 1940 (formerly in Rotterdam).
The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen with Pond and Figures (1885) by Van Gogh. Destroyed by fire in Rotterdam during the Second World War.
Windmill on Montmartre (1886) by Van Gogh. Destroyed by fire in 1967.
Still Life: Vase with Five Sunflowers (1888) by Van Gogh. Formerly in the collection of Koyata Yamamoto, Japan. Destroyed by American air raids on Ashiya District, August 5–6, 1945.
The Painter on his Way to Work (1888) by Van Gogh. Formerly in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum, Berlin. Destroyed by fire in World War II.
The Park at Arles with the Entrance Seen Through the Trees (1888) by Van Gogh. Destroyed by fire in World War II.
The Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV (1888) by Van Gogh. Declared degenerate and confiscated by the Nazis in 1937. Whereabouts unknown.
Musik II (1898), Schubert at the Piano (1899), Golden Apple Tree (1903), Procession of the Dead (1903), Klimt University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings: Medicine, Philosophy and Jurisprudence (1899–1907), Farm Garden with Crucifix (1911–12), Malcesine on Lake Garda (1913), Garden Path with Chickens (1916), Portrait of Wally (1916), The Girlfriends (c. 1916-17), Leda (1917), Gastein (1917), all by Gustav Klimt. Destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria.
Tammany Hall at Night by John Sloan was destroyed by fire during transit. The artist later created a replica from photographs.
Joan Miró's large mural on panels, The Reaper, (1937) depicting a Catalan peasant, was created for the Spanish Republican pavilion of the 1937 Paris Exposition. Afterwards it was sent to Valencia and probably destroyed.
Over 90% of the public works of German sculptor Arno Breker were destroyed by the allies after World War II.
On January 30, 1979, a Varig707 freighter, registration PP-VLU, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean thirty minutes after departing Tokyo, Japan. The captain had previously been involved in another major accident, that of Varig Flight 820 in 1973. No wreckage or remains were ever located. The aircraft was carrying 153 paintings by the Japanese Brazilian artist Manabu Mabe, worth approximately $1.24 million US.
The Sphere, an abstract sculpture by Fritz Koenig, survived the collapse but was seriously damaged, and now serves as a memorial.
Countless other works of art and valuable artifacts, found in safe deposit boxes located throughout the towers, were also destroyed.
Two other sculptures were damaged, but not destroyed by the attacks. These are Red Cube by Isamu Noguchi and Joie de Vivre by Mark di Suvero, located down the street from the World Trade Center. They were repaired and still stand today.
Lost Treasures of Europe: 427 Photographs Henry Adams LaFarge (ed.), Pantheon (1946).
The Lost Museum: Glimpses of Vanished Originals Robert Adams, Viking Press (1980). ISBN 0-670-44107-4
Missing Masterpieces: Lost Works of Art, 1450–1900 Dr. Gert-Rudolf Flick, Merrell (2003). ISBN 1-85894-197-0
The eloquent and thorough post-war report, Works of Art in Italy: Losses and Survivals in the War, compiled by the British Committee on the Preservation and Restitution of Works of Art, London 1946, is an indispensable guide to the damage inflicted by wartime action throughout Italy between 1943 and 1945. It is posted online and also references other wartime articles on damage to works of art in Italy.
The authoritative source in English for paintings destroyed in the Friedrichshain Flakturm, Berlin, 1945 remains Christopher Norris, "The Disaster at Flakturm Friedrichshain; a Chronicle and List of Paintings", The Burlington Magazine, December 1952, Vol. XCIV, Number 597.
Crook, J. Mordaunt (2012). William Burges and the High Victorian Dream. London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN978-0-711233-492.
Gamboni, Dario (1997). The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution. Reaktion Books. ISBN978-1-86189-316-1.
Lambourne, Nicola (2001). War Damage in Western Europe: The Destruction of Historic Monuments During the Second World War. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN0-7486-1285-8.