When Noah Charney ’02 studied art history at Colby, his favorite professor made an unforgettable comment about Jan van Eyck’s masterpiece: the Ghent Altarpiece was not only the most stolen artwork in the world — the object of 13 different crimes over its 600-year history — but also the most influential painting ever made and the most desired object in history. Charney believes it’s no wonder that the work was desired by so many individuals and nations. “The yearning to possess is cyclical and cumulative — when one prominent person desires an object, others follow,” he writes.