wed 21/10/2020

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, National Gallery | reviews, news & interviews

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, National Gallery

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, National Gallery

A genuine Rembrandt or a fake? The painting detectives lay out the secrets of their trade

'Dead Soldier' by an unknown 17th century artist was once thought to be a Velázquez
When is a fake a forgery? When is it a mistake? And when is it simply not what it appears? The National Gallery’s second summer exhibition to focus on its own collection here examines the questions of attribution, using the latest scientific resources to back up – or contradict – tradition, connoisseurship and curatorial decisions, good and bad. The gallery is putting its own mistakes on show, and over the 170-plus years of its existence, there have been more than a few.

When is a fake a forgery? When is it a mistake? And when is it simply not what it appears? The National Gallery’s second summer exhibition to focus on its own collection here examines the questions of attribution, using the latest scientific resources to back up – or contradict – tradition, connoisseurship and curatorial decisions, good and bad. The gallery is putting its own mistakes on show, and over the 170-plus years of its existence, there have been more than a few.

For many decades the gentlemen-amateurs who were the trustees actively rejected notions of scholarly art history

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