Patrons in fourteenth and fifteenth century Italy were acutely value conscious, frequently specifying the quality of materials an artist was expected to use or the parts of a painting he must execute by himself without recourse to assistants. Frugality often extended to having old paintings restored or recycled by adding new frames or changing a few figures to suit a new context. These changes are sometimes easily recognized by the modern art historian, but sometimes they can be detected only by near microscopic analysis of a painting’s surface. Identifying two different painters at work on an altarpiece, either contemporaneously or occasionally a hundred years apart or more, can have surprising consequences for conventional notions of the history of art.
- Sponsored by:
- Museum of Art