400 year old painting as & # 039; Dupe & # 039; It turns out to be painted by Rembrandt himself

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Photo credit: Associated Press.

Photo credit: Associated Press.

Photo credit: Associated Press.

Conservators used a variety of tools, including X-ray, infrared, and electron microscopy, to support the case that it was the work of one of the most important and respected artists in history.

  • Associated Press
  • Last updated: February 18, 2020, 11:36 am

Thanks to modern technology and some experienced detective work, an almost 400-year-old painting that was long attributed to an unknown artist in Rembrandt's workshop has now been judged to be the work of the Dutch master himself.

For decades, the Allentown Art Museum showed an oil-on-oak panel painting entitled "Portrait of a Young Woman" and attributed it to the "Studio of Rembrandt". The painting was sent to New York University two years ago for preservation and cleaning.

There, the restorers began to remove layers of overpainting and dark, thick varnish that had been added over centuries – and they began to suspect that Rembrandt himself was responsible for the original, delicate brushwork underneath.

"Our painting had numerous layers of paint that really obscured what you could see from the original brushwork and color," said Elaine Mehalakes, vice president of curatorial affairs at the Allentown Art Museum.

Conservators used a variety of tools, including X-ray, infrared, and electron microscopy, to support the case that it was the work of one of the most important and respected artists in history.

The scientific analysis "showed brushwork and a liveliness of this brushwork that is in line with other Rembrandt work," said Shan Kuang, a conservator at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, who restored "Portrait of a Young Woman".

External experts who examined the 1632 painting after completing its two-year restoration agreed with NYU's assessment that it was an authentic Rembrandt.

"We are very excited and excited," said Mehalakes. "The painting now has that incredible sheen that it just didn't have before. You can really connect to the portrait the way I think the artist intended you to."

When the "portrait of a young woman" was bequeathed to the museum in 1961, it was considered Rembrandt. About a decade later, a group of experts found that it had been painted by one of its assistants. Such changes in attribution are not uncommon: According to Mehalakes, up to 688 and only 265 paintings have been attributed to the artist over the centuries.

The museum has not had the painting assessed – and has no intention of selling it – but authenticated works by Rembrandt have raised tens of millions of dollars.

The painting, which is currently in the vault of the museum, will be exhibited publicly from June 7th.