The idea that the moral character of a work may be intimately linked to its artistic value can be traced back to Aristotle, who suggests that moral criteria help pick out tragedies that are good or bad as such. Indeed, when outlining the correct standards in dramatic art, he claims that ‘it is correct to find fault with both illogicality and moral baseness, if there is no necessity for them and if the poet makes no use of the illogicality (as with Euripedes and the case of Aegeus) or the baseness (as with Menelaus's in Orestes)’. One way of taking this claim is to hold that the moral character of a work may affect its artistic value indirectly. This article turns first to an examination of this kind of view.
Many of the most often-discussed issues of authenticity have centred around art forgery and plagiarism. A forgery is defined as a work of art whose history of production is misrepresented by someone (not necessarily the artist) to an audience (possibly to a potential buyer of the work), normally for financial gain. A forging artist paints or sculpts a work in the style of a famous artist in order to market the result as having been created by the famous artist. Exact copies of existing works are seldom forged, as they will be difficult to sell to knowledgeable buyers. The concept of forgery necessarily involves deceptive intentions on the part of the forger or the seller of the work: this distinguishes forgeries from innocent copies or merely erroneous attributions.