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National Gallery shows off fakes

galleryThe National Gallery opened a new exhibit that will help educate visitors on how to spot the difference between fakes and real paintings.  The gallery will show the use of new technology to help prevent mistakes made in the past when dupes were purchased.

Called ‘Close Examination- Fakes, Mistakes, and Discoveries,’ the highlights techniques that are used to prevent and detect art fraud by conservators, scientists, and art historians.

One painting on display as a fraudulent purchase is ‘A Man with a Skull’ which when was purchased was thought to be painted by Hans Holbein.  The painting was purchased in mid 19th century but tree ring dating showed that the painting was from after Holbein died.

The gallery also made a mistake when they purchased two Botticellis from the estate of Alexander Barker only to find that one of the paintings was in fact not a Botticelli.

Even though in the present day modern methods such as X-ray images and infrared imaging have helped identify paintings, fakery is still a large problem throughout the art world.

Marjorie Wieseman, exhibition co-curator, stated that it is now very hard to sell a fake because the art world is getting better at identifying forgers, but art is getting more expensive therefore the temptation and rewards for forgers is getting higher.

The art exhibition also shows how over time pieces of art are altered to fit the current standards of the time.

For example, ‘Woman at a Window,’ a painting from the 16th century was first painted with blonde hair and a sultry appearance, but she was altered during the Victorian ages to meet the more restrained tastes.


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