The ‘Madonna della Palma’

Dec 1, 2023 | Cutural Heritage, Fakes, Restoration

A Raphael?

No! A complete forgery that however, no longer than 40 years ago fooled Cesare Brandi and many other scholars, as well as the Central Institute for Restoration, with its scientific investigations.

Many but not all. The attribution was strongly criticized by Federico Zeri, an outsider, who insisted that the tree in the back was not even a palm tree.  The scandal made its way into Italian national newspapers.

A letter by the art historian Cesare Brandi defending the attribution was published on La Stampa, on 21January 1981, followed by another one by Zeri and some technical considerations by the restorer Pico Cellini, also an outsider, who spotted that the support was pine wood plus some other inconsistencies.

Brandi and the others scholars were more focused on the style, but even so, how could they possibly mistake this for a Raphael… did you?