Redemption

Sometimes the true quality of a painting is masked by dirt, discoloured varnish, or old retouchings. Or sometimes a work by a significant artist is ignored simply because it stands apart from the rest of their practice.

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries showcases masterpieces which have been recovered and restored to their original glory.

The paintings explored in these case studies represent some of the Gallery’s greatest triumphs:

Detail from Raphael, 'The Madonna of the Pinks', about 1506-7
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Find out about the techniques used to re-establish the authenticity of a lost Raphael
Caspar David Friedrich, 'Winter Landscape', probably 1811
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Two versions of this frozen landscape are known – which is the original?
Jan Gossaert, 'The Virgin and Child', 1527
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What amazing surprise was awaiting restorers of this tiny painting?
Paolo Veronese, 'The Rape of Europa', about 1570
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Find out how a prized canvas by Veronese was rediscovered under layers of dark varnish
Detail from Paolo Uccello, 'Saint George and the Dragon', about 1470
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How did scientific examination eliminate doubts about this painting's authenticity?
Sandro Botticelli, 'Saint Francis of Assisi with Angels', about 1475-80
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Discover how a forgotten Botticelli was brought to light by a new restoration
Matteo di Giovanni, 'Christ Crowned with Thorns', 1480-95
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Follow the changing fortunes of this 15th-century painting