Artist dating a scientist

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The most recent catalogue on the determination of authenticity in art, published by the same in June 2007, contains an exclusive six-page presentation of the scientific laboratory of the Museo d Arte e Scienza in which its methods for dating paintings, furniture, and objects in ivory and other materials are illustrated in detail and their validity, in effect, endorsed.

As a consequence a section of the trade rejects scientific methods out of economic necessity.

Having thus ascertained that at least the two side strips of the stretcher are unquestionably original and coeval with this painting, we proceeded to date them scientifically.

The spectroscopic analysis of the wood gave the following results: Many areas of the painting evidence a deep, extensive craquelure.

Only the dating of the wood, therefore, can permit certain and unequivocal classification.

A careful preliminary examination of the edges brought to light the presence of a set of new nails, whilst there are numerous free holes left by preceding nails.

Thanks to the laboratory's modern equipment, a painting can be subjected to analysis using infrared reflectography, Wood's light, a stereoscopic microscope, IR spectroscopy and other instrumental techniques.3 e 4 - Microscopic analysis to examine the signs of ageing in the paint layer: the nature of the craquelure (natural or artificial - deep or superficial), the pigments (crystallinity, purity and size), restoration and other factors.

Wood's light and monochromatic lights permit an evaluation of the extent to which the painting has been restored, touched up and overpainted, as well as the identification of various fluorescent substances.7, 8 e 9 - Infrared reflectography permits an in-depth examination of the painting bringing to light underdrawings or grids, pentimenti, the depth of the craquelure, and identification of restoration work or the use of different materials.

The Museum laboratorys mission is to improve existing scientific methods and elaborate new methods for the ascertainment of the authenticity of art objects.Whilst this type of ascertainment is to the dealers advantage, for buyers it could mean the almost total loss of their investment if one day this overemphasis on the signature were considered illogical and mistaken and a more traditional way of attributing art returned to the various component materials of the painting and its support.Any incompatibility between the measured ages and information on the presumed author reveals to the owner, before he seeks an expert opinion, that he has acquired one of the myriad recent copies in circulation.In the past, when called on to appraise and attribute a painting, art experts examined only the surface under natural light.A superficial examination of this kind was sufficient, however, because it was artistic style and technique they were looking fact that today, as in the future, it is often impossible to attribute a work to an author with certainty, induces the thought that current art appraisal methods are all to the advantage of the market.

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