Archive for category MB

Two years ago I decided to a start a Missing Piece Replacement service at Rare Puzzles. I knew it was not easy to find a perfect replacement from a compatible puzzle. However, I thought a bad replacement was always better than an incomplete puzzle. Little by little, the Missing Pieces section increased. However, I never expected to add the wonderful 5000, MB, The Tiger Hunt, by Rubens, to the list. There are around 20 puzzles only listed now, but I’m sure many more will come in the future.

One year ago, I was able to provide a compatible piece for the 5000, Ravensburger, The Night Watch, by Rembrandt. I had sold a used copy with a damaged piece that I had not detected. For that reason, I felt compelled to assemble a compatible copy and find the replacement, which was perfectly good.

Very recently, GijonForEver, who is a a very active puzzle enthusiast and has the best collection of large fine art puzzles in Spain (IMHO), completed the magnificent 5000, MB, The Tiger Hunt. When he started, he was sure that the puzzle was complete. However, he got a missing piece when he finished. Bummer!

At around the same time, I had found with his help a “sealed bag” copy of this puzzle. As it happens many times, the puzzle didn’t come with a sealed bag, as the seller assured. It was, in fact, incomplete. At least the pieces were in excellent condition and I figured I would keep the puzzle for future replacements.

A perfect piece replacement for The Tiger Hunt

The silver lining is that both puzzles were compatible. That meant there was a good chance that we could fix his copy with mine. Since I had not assembled my puzzle, I gave him my copy and GijonForEver looked for the missing piece himself. Since it was a piece with three heads, it didn’t take him too long to locate it.

The piece was perfect. There is no way to know it was not the original one. The fit, the pattern within, and the shade of green were exactly the same. GijonForEver was really happy because he had now his puzzle complete. And I was very happy too because there was no better use of the Missing Piece Replacement service of Rare Puzzles than fixing such a gem by MB. Besides, GijonForEver happens to be a really great cook. I know he will prove it to me again in the future and for a very good reason now.

This is just a small success story. It simply shows that the project of getting replacements for most of the major classic fine art puzzles is viable. It will take time, for sure, but it can be done. I’m sure in the future there will be many more puzzles available for replacements. And we will be able to fix many other puzzles, like this one. Puzzles like The Tiger Hunt are truly worth it.

Image of the complete 5000, MB, The Tiger Hunt

Read More

This puzzle is very unusual, and it is not just because it only has two corners. It is an illustration of the Grand Canal in Venice with a lot of really minute details. Although the title in the box is simply Venice, the complete title of the illustration is It’s a Doge’s Life on the Grand Canal, by Graham Clarke. MB produced it in 1992.

1500, MB, Its a Doges Life on the Grand Canal, Blog Post, Picture of the puzzle assembled

When I verified the puzzle, I got 1504 pieces. However, due to the very particular shape, there was no way to know whether the puzzle was complete or incomplete. For that reason, I put it together eventually, and I’m glad I did. The pieces have a very snug fit that I liked, although they seemed slightly different to other MB puzzles.

I found the puzzle more challenging than I had expected. Buildings, boats, ships, inscriptions, text… There are a lot of details that are difficult to distinguish unless you have very good eyesight or you look very, very close. This puzzle would probably have been more enjoyable in 3000 pieces. In any case, it was very fun and it was luckily complete. I listed it later in the online store and the puzzle went to new hands very quickly.

Venice and the Grand Canal

The Doge of Venice was the chief magistrate and leader of the Republic of Venice. He lived in the Doge’s Palace, which is one of the most characteristic buildings in the city. This building appears in many puzzles with paintings by Canaletto, like the 5000 pieces version by F.X. Schmid of Return of the Bucentaur to the Molo on Ascension Day. An even better image of the Doge’s Palace is the 3000 pieces puzzle by F.X. Schmid of Panorama of Venice. In our puzzle, we can distinguish the building just in the middle of the image, in a light pink color.

The Grand Canal forms the major water-traffic corridor in the city of Venice. In the banks of the Grand Canal there are more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art of Venice. Because most of the city’s traffic goes along the Canal rather than across it, only the Rialto Bridge crossed the canal until the 19th century. The bridge also appears in the illustration, which seems to include every detail. We can see the bridge with more detail in the puzzle 5000, Jumbo, A Busy Day Near the Rialto Bridge, by Antonio Pascutti.

There are a lot of puzzles with paintings and photographs of Venice and they are too many to list.

1500, MB, It’s a Doge’s Life on the Grand Canal, by Graham Clarke, 79 x 60 cm, Reference number 3890.21.

1500, MB, It's a Doge's Life on the Grand Canal, Blog Post, Picture of the box

Read More

The complete title of this painting is Suburbs of a Paranoiac-Critical Town: Afternoon on the Outskirts of European History, and the artist is the Spanish painter Salvador Dalí. Although Dalí has very strong supporters, he is not one of my favorite painters, and I don’t like this particular work very much. I think I bought the puzzle because it was rare and it was a way to add variety to my collection.

The puzzle was manufactured by MB. The image in the jigsaw puzzle represents only a part of the original. Surrealism is difficult to understand, and it is even difficult to relate the content of the painting and the title. Perhaps they thought it wouldn’t make much difference to crop the image and leave out what I think it’s a significant part of the content.

The puzzle was very easy to assemble. It was completed during the summer of 2014. Once piece was missing and the puzzle is now offered for replacements at the Missing Pieces section.

1500, MB, Suburbs of a Paranoiac-Critical Town: Afternoon on the Outskirts of European History, Salvador Dalí, 79 x 60 cm, Reference Number 3753.23.

Read More