Investigative art fans have been spotting fake masterpieces in Liverpool City Region galleries as part of a new television series.
Original artworks in the Walker Art Gallery and Wirral’s Lady Lever Art Gallery were among millions of pounds of exhibits switched for copies around the UK at the start of the month.
The stunt got underway on 1 July for the forthcoming Sky Arts show ‘Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge’, and throughout the month members of the public of all ages are being challenged to spot seven copies hiding in six galleries around the nation.
Other venues are in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester, but participants can also inspect the artworks online for the competition.
With the contest now at the halfway point, initial statistics show that Merseyside art-spotters are the most perceptive of all the participants, as 70% of respondents have successfully picked out fakes among a collection of animal paintings at the Walker Art Gallery, while 59% have correctly identified a copy of an English portrait at Lady Lever.
Charlotte Keenan, curator of British art at National Museums Liverpool, says: “The findings support what we’ve known for many years – here in Liverpool we have an incredibly engaged audience who know and love our collections.
“Liverpool has a long and diverse history of creativity, and we’re a confident bunch when it comes to sharing our thoughts and ideas about art.”
Entrants who identify the most ‘fakes’ in the competition will be invited to take part in the finale of the series, which is being presented by Giles Coren and Rose Balston, and they could win a specially commissioned copy of their own.
Each episode of the programme will shine a light on a particular period of British art, featuring interviews with specialist curators from each gallery and the contemporary artists who have been commissioned to secretly recreate the masterpieces from scratch.
With recording taking place throughout July and August, the seven original paintings will be returned to the galleries once the competition has ended next month.
The series will then be screened on Sky Arts in the new year.
To enter the competition visit www.skyartsfake.com