Discoveries

Many paintings in the Gallery once looked quite different from how they do today. Sometimes artists themselves have made changes. In other cases, transformations have been brought about by accident, or through the intentional interventions of dealers and restorers.

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries explores some of the stories of change and transformation behind paintings in the National Gallery.  

These case studies show how scientific analysis can help detect changes, and how researchers interpret the results to understand why they occurred. Find out about some surprising discoveries made through close examination:

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    Find out why this portrait was radically altered in the 18th century
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    Discover how a circular ceiling painting was cleverly transformed into a rectangular gallery picture
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    Have interventions by 20th-century restorers deepened the mystery of Giorgione's painting?
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    After 300 years, this seductive beauty was transformed into a demure lady. Find out why
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    De Hooch never intended a still life of dead birds – who transformed this painting and why?
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    Portions of this painting are the work of a 19th-century restorer – can you tell which ones?
  7. Feature
    Modern technology reveals Bellini's original painting – hidden for 400 years
  8. Feature
    Which Le Nain brother painted this simple scene? And who painted the mysterious portrait hidden beneath its surface?
 
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