Saturday, November 12, 2016

From the Spot the difference - art attribution

Proving authorship by even the most recognisable artists is tricky: over 46 years of analysis the Rembrandt Research Project reduced the number of accepted works by the artist by nearly half. Now, alongside undisputed Rembrandts, Dulwich Picture Gallery is exhibiting “Self-Portrait, Wearing a Feathered Bonnet”. Discredited in the 1960s, it was only redeemed in 2014 after chemical, infrared and X-ray analysis. In Milan, meanwhile, two near-identical depictions of “Judith Beheading Holofernes” hang in the Pinacoteca di Brera: one an excellent copy by a contemporary follower of Caravaggio; the other, discovered in a French garret two years ago, might just be Caravaggio’s original, missing for 400 years. Scholars are divided. Two weeks ago, a member of the museum’s scientific committee resigned in protest, calling the exhibition a premature endorsement of the claim. While they fight it out, the public have a rare chance to come and judge for themselves.

This is from the Economist Expresso email (

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