Kicker – From knockoff to masterpiece

MARY REICHARD, HOST: For decades, Pennsylvania’s Allentown Art Museum has displayed a nearly 400-year-old knockoff of a famous Rembrandt masterpiece—an oil-and-oak panel painting called “Portrait of a Young Woman.” 

Allentown Art Museum’s Elaine Mehalakes told WCAU tv…

MEHALAKES: When it was examined in 1970 it was downgraded to being made in Rembrandt’s studio but not by the artist himself.

A few years ago, the museum sent the painting to New York University for cleaning. For many months, cleaners carefully removed layers of overpainting and thick varnish added over the centuries. 

As the original brushwork was revealed, they began to suspect that there’d been a mistake.  

Modern technology—X-ray, infrared—led them to conclude that Rembrandt himself painted the portrait.

MEHALAKES: They were able to see now the original brush strokes and compare those to other paintings that are known to be Rembrandt. 

Rembrandt paintings have fetched tens of millions of dollars. But the museum has no intention to sell it. 

You can see the newly authenticated Rembrandt at Allentown’s art museum starting in June.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

(Photo/Allentown Art Museum via AP)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

Like this story?

To hear a lot more like it, subscribe to The World and Everything in It via iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or Pocket Casts.







Pocket Casts

(Requires a fee)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.