Monday, June 28, 2010


I've recommended several books on art forgery in the last few years, and I saw an article yesterday that was an interesting twist. An excerpt:
The hidden secrets of some of the world's most famous paintings have been revealed thanks to a partnership between EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and the UK National Gallery.

Culminating in the first major exhibition of its kind in summer 2010, scientists at the Gallery have been using the latest equipment to shed new light on the history behind some of the Gallery's priceless works of art.

A state-of-the-art, EPSRC-funded gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometer (GC-MS) has helped specialists in the National Gallery's scientific department study the organic chemistry of old master paintings to understand how paintings were made and how they have changed over time. In painstaking investigations, the scientists used GC-MS to study the characterisation and composition of paint binding media, additions to paint media such as resins, and the composition of old varnishes.

In one specific case, this technology was used to distinguish between two allegedly authentic versions of the same painting (a 15th century work by Francesco Francia), and clearly identified one as a forgery.

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