- art world
- Art-Test News
- Authentications & Attributions
- Cutural Heritage
- International cooperation
- Studies and Projects
For Art-Test, the Aiar appointment is double. If you have missed the interesting workshop on Caravaggio last April in Empoli, you can take the opportunity to see the work of Art-Test in conjunction with S.T. Art-Test entitled “Caravaggio or not Caravaggio? Preliminary scientific evidence for the attribution of the St. John the Baptist of Empoli (Tuscany)”. How many of sensational discoveries news are given when it comes to names such as Caravaggio, however, without the support of an adequate system of preliminary studies? The infrared analysis on Empoli version of San Giovanni Battista discloses important factual discoveries; the debate is open: the scientific data can really make a difference and rewrite the entire history of a painting!
For the complete program of the congress AIAr:
A conference about the influence of the Lombard painter in Northern Europe is scheduled for the end of November at the Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht (NL).
The conference aims to shed new light on the diversity of artistic responses derived from the works painted by Caravaggio during the first decades of the seventeenth century. Interesting is also the proposal to investigate the mechanisms of migration, the history of collecting and the relationships between the artists. The conference anticipates some of the central themes of the upcoming exhibition “Caravaggio and the painters of the North”, which will take place at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (June 21-September 25, 2016).
Here is the link for more information: http://niki-florence.org/caravaggio-and-northern-european-painting-niki-conference-utrecht-30-november/
The conference poster shows the painting “St. John the Baptist”, which we discussed in http://www.art-test.com/unforgettable-out-look/, in occasion of the presentation of the analysis of the version of Empoli.
Caravaggio or not Caravaggio? A report on the 11th April Study Day
“The Mother of Caravaggio is always pregnant”, is the title of a provocative pamphlet by Tomaso Montanari, meant to emphasize how often we talk about discoveries without the support of adequate research. This is not the case of the painting from Empoli, for which the accomplished restoration was the occasion for a study day on “From Caravaggio. The St. John the Baptist and its copies “, attended by a large number of eminent scholars, including Professor Mina Gregori.( She, an undisputed authority in the field at the opening declared to be very interested and to be ready to learn more. What an enviable vitality and what an exemplary attitude!)
The scientific research (performed by Art-Test) on the painting now in Empoli, one of the known variants of this St John subject, provided rather interesting results which show e,g, that in fact it is not a nineteenth century copy as some speculated, but a seventeenth century artwork. Moreover, IR reflectography allowed visualizing some interesting “pentimenti”, for example in the look.
Conference proceedings are due in September, but the communications given at the workshop are already available on line (http://ilraccontodellarte.com/) (in Italian). The talk by Art-Test is also on our YouTube channel (https: // www.youtube.com/channel/UCh8hj11mXK5ut4ajsT8V7kA).
After the greetings of the authorities, with the debate moderated by Bruno Santi, and the introduction to the works by Prof. Mina Gregori, Nicole Mayers’ communication related on the events that led the painting now in the collection to Kansas City, while Cristina Terzaghi focused on the collection Costa. The communication by Angela Cerasuolo explained the technical characteristics of the artwork now in Capodimonte, while Valfredo Siemoni reported on the evidence collected about the provenance of the painting now in Empoli. Cristina Gnoni and Sandra Pucci explained the restoration works and stressed the importance of them in reestablishing discernibility to the artwork. After the report of Art-Test on materials and techniques employed, Roberta Lapucci focused on iconographic aspects while Marco Masseti, archozoologoo, concluded with an interesting overview of animal furs employed for the iconography of St John.
( photo by: Marcantonio Perugino)
Saturday, April 11 2015, the Church of St Stephen Augustinian in Empoli will host the workshop“From Caravaggio. The San Giovanni Battista Costa and his copies” moderated by Prof. Bruno Santi.
This subject had a great fortune, in Italy and abroad. There are at least 8 known versions of this painting, with different and controversial attributions. Which artists did paint them? And what is the history of the little-known version now in Empoli? This painting, which became part of the heritage of the church of St. Stephen, thanks to the donation of Monsignor Marchetti in 1823 and almost unreadable before restoration, was nearly neglected hanging in a building that has a long history: it was erected in the fifteenth century by the brotherhood of the Augustinians, who are since the Middle Ages in the area of Empoli. Among the famous names of artists who worked there we find Masolino and Starnina (whose frescoes have come to us in the form of a fragment or sinopia), Cigoli and Cresti, said the Passignano. But the most illustrious name is certainly that of Caravaggio, tied to the the St. John the Baptist now in the Chapel of the Purification. But is this painting original or is it a copy? The symposium will be an opportunity to present the studies and the results of the recent restoration, conducted by Sandra Pucci, and directed by Maria Cristina Gnoni Mavarelli of the SBAPSE of Florence Pistoia and Prato, together with the results, that we cannot anticipate, of the diagnostic testing, including analysis of materials and reflectography performed by Art-Test.
Please join us on Saturday, April 11 from 9:30 am at the Church of St. Stephen of the Augustinians of Empoli. Admission is free. Save the date !!
St. John the Baptist of Mercy Empoli, photos of Alena Fialová
Here the program for the day
The Art Test channel on Youtube is born!
You can finally see some videos of our work, including the report that the Rai TV program “Superquark” dedicated to the discovery of the authenticity of a Caravaggio painting in collaboration with Roberta Lapucci, and the presentation “Beyond Gold. More than meets the eyes” with some of the results of the analysis of 50 paintings from the Pinacoteca di Siena which were shown at the Bozar in Brussels during the exhibition “Paintings from Siena: Ars Narrandi in Europe’s Gothic Age” (now scheduled at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen from 21 March to 17 August 2015), and which along with other 50 paintings (also belonging to the Art Gallery of Siena) are part of the database “Sotto l’oro” ( http://www.art-test.com/database-en/ )
We invite you to subscribe to our channel to keep updated on events, discoveries and presentations that we’ll publish.
Click on the image to watch the video on the analysis of the paintings of Siena!
The news that, after forty years of “absence”, a Caravaggio will be put for sale has aroused great interest among the press, the curious and collectors. Between 27 and 29 of January, Christie’s will propose, as part of the Old Masters Week, the oil on canvas Boy peeling a fruit of which there are at least ten versions and whose estimate is between 3 and 5 million dollars.
We know that a work with this subject was one of the first made by the Master after his arrival in Rome, and which was already showing one of the hallmarks of his style: the use and representation of light. A subject most likely painted from life, one of the first examples of fusion between the genre of still life and the half-length portrait. Several different meanings were attributed by art historians to the painting, sometimes seen as an allegory of autumn, or the sense of taste, or as a warning, or as a simple interest of the painter for this genre.
But is that the original copy?
We would like propose a little game here: here you can see four versions of the Child Peeling a pommel. Which one would you say is the original?
There are not many Caravaggio paintings which are part of private collections. Art-Test Florence has had the pleasure to perform diagnostic campaigns on various works of Caravaggio’s, private and public, including one of the very same subject that is among the ones pictured above.
Certainly an ad-hoc diagnostic campaign can help to shed the light on uncertainties and dispel doubts on authenticity! Scientific investigations have allowed us both to make new discoveries (remember the self-portrait of Caravaggio identified in the Uffizi Bacchus’ pitcher) and to confirm the authenticity (e.g. the “Saint Jerome Writing” of the Oratory of St. John’s Co-Cathedral in La Valletta, Malta).
Would you feel comfortable offering some 5 million dollars without any scientific investigation?
With an excellent example of museum management, the Museo Civico of Montepulciano puts technology at visitors’ service offering an absolutely innovative opportunity to navigate the secrets of one of its finest pieces: the “Portrait of a Gentleman” recently investigated by Art-Test Firenze, restored by Mary Lippi, and attributed to Caravaggio by Prof. Massimo Pulini.
Too often technical reports by art historians, diagnostics experts and conservators are stored and forgotten. To the contrary, the Fondazione Musei Senesi and the Municipality of Montepulciano have chosen an innovative way to share this information to the benefit of the visiting public.
An interactive installation, in Italian and in English, narrates the complex story of the painting, and provides additional content.
Thanks to the touchscreen display and its intuitive navigation, it is possible to deepen the knowledge on the masterpiece by flipping as through a book, scrolling and zooming as desired to see the details of most interesting images.
Of four sections, the last one is reserved to the restoration intervention. It describes both the cleaning operation of the painting surface, which allowed its readability, and the complete diagnostic investigation performed by Art-Test. In this chapter the visitor has the opportunity to learn in a simple and immediate way the wide range of diagnostic analyses performed.
The UV Fluorescence method, the exclusive Art-Test patented Multilayer image stratigraphy; the IR Reflectography; the X-radiography: they all revealed more information about the deeper structures of the painting, confirming its compatibility with Caravaggio’s period.
In the catalog it is explained how the canvas, which is part of the Gioviana’s Series in the Uffizi, was attributed to Caravaggio by John Spike in 1995, and how it was recently confirmed in this proposal by Gianni Papi, who also recognizes in the portrait, not the Cardinal Baronius, as stated by the writing, but Benedetto Giustiniani.
Moreover, the volume allows us to read in details the outcomes of the diagnostic procedure performed by Art-Test Florence, and to discover the interesting features which came to light.
There we can read about an unusual specific weight of the artwork; about the outcomes of the analysis of pigments, thanks to the ED-XRF technique; and observe how the canvas certainly underwent extensive restoration with adjustments, in the IR reflectography and UV fluorescence images, which show such important changes.
But the most interesting observation is undoubtedly derived from the analyses performed with the patented Multilayer method. This unique technique permits to visualize the several different layers of the painting. In this case the image in Layer 5 shows the clear reading of a pre-existing text and, in Layer 7, the sketch of the Master, who clearly defined the contours of the cardinal’s robe, with a hood-style neck.
Of course, we do not wish to anticipate more about the technical data and related images, which are presented in the catalog. We wish scholars and anybody else interested in Caravaggio a good reading!
From Brazil the great succes of Caravaggio’s exhibition contributes to update the studies on this master.
While in Italy we keep talking about the alleged attribution to Caravaggio of a hundred drawings, Brazil welcomes with extraordinary enthusiasm the temporary exhibition “Caravaggio and his followers” that includes 6 paintings of the Master and 14 works of the “Caravaggeschi”, i.e. followers of his manner, who lived during his time and were deeply inspired by him (to know more about all the exhibited artworks, click here, under “Material Complementar “).
Extended until July 22 at Fiat Casa de Cultura in Belo Horizonte, the exhibition will then move from August 1st to September 23rd in the prestigious MASP – Art Museum of Sao Paulo – the most important art center in Latin America – and from there it will be transferred to Argentina, to the Museo Nacional in Buenos Aires on December 15th, 2012.
The prime mover of the exhibition is Rossella Vodret, one of the leading experts on Caravaggio in Italy and Head of the “Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico per il Polo Museale della Città di Roma”. In Italy the curator is George Leone, and in Brazil Fabio Malgahaes. A very important cultural appointment for a country, Brazil, that actively seeks to strengthen exchange of experiences with Italy, which is among the top five countries in terms of visiting tourists.
The aim of this temporary exhibition is to highlight the revolutionary way of painting of Caravaggio and the transformations that visual art underwent in the early seventeenth century in Rome. It is a unique opportunity to see, gathered together, a series of masterpieces created in that context and otherwise not easily presented to the international public.
Furthermore, as stated in its title “Caravaggio and his followers: confirmations and problems”, the event is also an important occasion to update the overview on the scientific studies on Caravaggio and his followers.
In this perspective, we gladly highlight the extensive catalog of the exhibition, which stands as a useful and comprehensive study tool.
The volume analyzes in detail each artwork on display. It illustrates the reasons for the proposal of attribution, if still uncertain, and it offers a unique insight into how the artist worked and thought, through the diagnostic investigation carried out on the canvas and illustrated in the volume, presenting data and technical analysis of traces lost over the centuries, hidden by layers of paint or varnish, and eventually brought back to light by restoration or diagnostic tests.
Art-Test takes an active part in this, having provided a detailed contribution to the catalog. The scientific investigations on the exhibited work “Portrait of Cardinal”, from the Uffizi’s Collection, were carried out by our labs, and a summary of their interpretation is to be found in the volume.