The eye is not enough but an incomplete diagnostics campaign is also not enough
We say that the best way to assess the essence of a person is to look into their eyes, which are the mirror of the soul.
But these same eyes, when used to judge a work of art, may be an insufficient tool, or be deceived.
More and more often we read about “fake paintings discoveries”.
A few weeks ago, for example, the news appeared of the return to the unculpable purchaser, by Sotheby’s, of a large sum of money received from the sale of an alleged Frans Hals. And it seems that this is not the only painting that had the same fate, in fact the batch would comprise 25 works, all fakes.
The chronicles report that this painting was declared authentic not only by experts of the auction house, but also by art historians who examined it during the “export certification” procedure.
It turns out that their study made use also of an imaging diagnostic campaign. We read that the painting was analyzed with ultraviolet, infrared and X-ray radiations. Then how is it possible that that a fake was certified authentic? Perhaps the diagnostic campaign was not sufficient, or the images have not been correctly interpreted?
Art-Test always suggests including an analysis of the materials used.
This to verify whether they were available in the period in which it is assumed that the work has been done, and to evaluate their compatibility with the modus operandi of the artist proposed.
Analyses are always useful. They must be professionally done and presented with the utmost transparency. Lately in the catalog of Sotheby’s upcoming auction of old masters, a reflectography image appeared along the picture of the painting. Is this the beginning of a new chapter in the art authenticity quest? We hope so, since we love our work and art alike!