As a forger, however, van Meegeren's work drew far more attention in the art world. Van Meegeren chose to paint under the guise of celebrated 17th-century master Jan Vermeer, a painter whose known catalog of work only included a few dozen works. Rather than painting copies of Vermeer's existing pieces, he created works that evoked Vermeer's style, but were a departure from the artist's previous subjects.
Van Meegeren made millions of dollars off of his forgeries, creating an estimated nine fake Vermeers. Unfortunately for van Meegeren, the jig was up at the end of World War II, when one of his forgeries turned up in the collection owned by Hermann Goering, one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. The connection forced van Meegeren to confess to being a forger in order to save himself.
Under suspicion that van Meegeren had been in league with the Nazis, an act of treason, van Meegeren insisted that he had instead sold forgeries that he had created himself. In order to convince a skeptical court, van Meegeren spent two months creating an original Vermeer forgery in front of six witnesses.