The Fake Moon by Galileo Galilei

Allgemein, Productions

On the trail of a scandal

Galileo Galilei's writing "Sidereus Nuncius" is still considered a masterpiece of science today. In January 1610, the Italian astronomer observed the moon for the first time in Padua through his newly developed telescope. Fascinated by his discoveries, he quickly published the book that would change the world with its etchings of the moon.

Almost 400 years later, a New York antiquarian rubbed his eyes. Two men want to sell him a very special copy of the book: One that does not contain the famous etchings, but original watercolours by the master. An international team of researchers led by the Berlin art historian Horst Bredekamp spends months examining the book for authenticity, using every technical means at their disposal. They have no doubt: the book is genuine. Time" magazine is already talking about a scientific and art-historical find of the century.

But a young scientist remains sceptical and is able to prove that the New York copy is obviously the best book forgery of all time. His discovery leads to a scandal of the century, the aftermath of which can still be felt in the world of science today.

Pierre-Olivier François' documentary tells the story of this almost perfect forgery, its discovery and the shocks the scandal caused, like a thriller. The forger of the book also has his say - and in no way regrets his deed. As an amateur astronomer and admirer of Galileo, he is visibly proud of his "Sidereus Nuncius", with which he deceived the experts. (Text: arte)

  • A production by Ventana-Film for RBB and ARTE
  • Documentary, 52 minutes
  • 2019