press release

This exhibition explores the vital contributions of applied science to the understanding of Old Master paintings in the National Gallery. A world leader in its field, the Gallery employs advanced techniques in scientific examination, conservation and art historical research to investigate a painting’s physical properties.

The exhibition will showcase some of the most intriguing stories behind paintings in the Gallery, as it explores the ways in which advances in scholarship and technology can reveal the misconceptions of the past. Uncovering the past

Working together, Gallery experts can uncover the true origins of works with disputed authorship or authenticity, ranging from workshop collaborations and straightforward period copies to modern forgeries.

Sometimes scientific investigation has uncovered fakes. A painting acquired as a 15th-century work in 1923 was proven to be a 20th-century forgery after scientific analysis of the materials used.

Occasionally science also betrays the errors of past research. At the time of its purchase in 1845, A Man with a Skull was attributed to Hans Holbein. A recent analysis of the painting’s wooden panel support has shown that the work actually postdates the artist’s death.

Ongoing advances in scientific technology open the way for new discoveries. The exhibition additionally highlights the often surprising results of cleaning and conservation, and presents a number of tantalising unsolved conundrums.

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Close Examination
Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries

Künstler: Francesco Guardi, Dosso Dossi, Pieter Bruegel der Ältere, Sassoferrato , Angelo Caroselli, Jan Gossaert, Albrecht Dürer, Michiel Coxcie, Matteo di Giovanni, Robert Campin, Andrea del Verrocchio, Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, Frères Le Nain  (Antoine Le Nain, Mathieu Le Nain, Louis Le Nain), Pieter de Hooch, Francesco Francia, Rembrandt, Andrea Previtali, Albrecht Dürer, Sandro Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Giorgione, Caspar David Friedrich, Master of the Mornauer Portrait , Hugo van der Goes, Raffael , Giovanni Bellini, Frans van Mieris der Ältere, Sandro Botticelli, Paolo Veronese, Pietro Perugino, Umberto Giunti