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