SLEUTHS are stalking the corridors of London’s National Gallery. Identifying and preserving paintings is one of the gallery’s essential tasks. Is a painting a fake, created to deceive? Was it altered years after it was made in order to conform to later fashions and make it easier to sell? Is it a genuine work later mistaken for that of a more highly valued contemporary? If a picture is a copy, was it made at the same time as the original, perhaps by the same hand? Multiples were not an Andy Warhol invention, although earlier on they took longer to produce.

侦探们正在伦敦国家美术馆的走廊里盘查。该美术馆的一个主要任务是识别并且保存画作。一件作品是否是赝品,是否是为欺骗而作?一件作品是否在创作多年之后被改动?——为了迎合后来的潮流,为了更容易卖出。一件真品是否会被后人错当作一件更受青睐的当代真品?假如一幅画是复制品,那么是否与原作是同期画作,可不可能是同一个人的创作?复制并不是安迪·沃霍尔的首创,但是早期的复制品制作需要更长时间。

The results of some of this sleuthing (clues uncovered and conclusions reached) have been brought together into a new exhibition at the National Gallery that is on until September 30th. The evidence is lucidly presented, in both words and images. Most of the works, whether by Sandro Botticelli, Dosso Dossi, Paolo Uccello, Rembrandt’s studio or Giorgione, are from its own collection.更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

这次侦查的部分结果(发现线索,得出结论)已经汇集一起,放在国家美术馆的一次新近展览中展出,展览将持续到9月30日。侦查得到的证据被很清晰地呈现出来,既有文字,又有图像。作品大多是美术馆的自藏品,不论是桑德罗·波提切利、多索·多西,还是保罗·乌切罗、伦勃朗工作室,亦或是乔尔乔涅。

The rooms concentrate, in turn, on Deception and Deceit, Transformations and Modifications, Mistakes, Secrets and Conundrums, Being Botticelli and Redemption and Recovery. The result is a lively, educational and occasionally amusing show. A blown-up photograph of carefully painted crackle marks that cunningly mimic the look of centuries-old paint elicits a smile. Fakers can seem such attractive rascals if you aren’t their victim.

各展室的主题依次是:谎言与欺骗,大改变与小改动,张冠李戴,秘密和难题,成为波提切利,救赎与复原。结果这是一次生动、富有启发性的展览,偶尔还颇具趣味性。有一幅放大了的照片很能引人会心一笑,照片里,被仔细画上的裂纹狡猾地模仿了古老画作的外表。这些制造赝品的混账可以显得如此地有魅力,前提是你不是他们的受害者。

For centuries art detectives had to rely mainly on connoisseurship. For that a good eye was essential. Knowledge of the wider world was useful, too. Now there is sophisticated technology. A painting thought to be by Francesco Francia, a Renaissance artist, when it entered the gallery’s collection in 1924 was found to be a 19th-century fake after recent analysis by infra-red reflectography, which in effect sees through layers of paint. Not all technological revelations bring bad news: a 15th-century portrait of the then popular murdered Saint Peter Martyr (complete with cleaver in his head) turned out, when it was x-rayed, to be an earlier image of a friar by Giovanni Bellini. When the alterations were made the market for images of this saint was stronger than for Bellinis.

几个世纪以来,艺术侦探必须主要依赖其鉴赏功力。说到鉴赏功力,一双好眼睛很关键,广泛的知识面也很重要。而现在有了先进的科技。有一幅画作在其1924年入馆之时被认为是文艺复兴时期的艺术家弗朗西斯科·弗朗西亚的作品,但最近用红外线反射成像法分析之后,发现是一件19世纪的伪作。这种鉴定法实际上是穿透了层层的涂料,看到了里面。并非所有的科学揭秘带来的都是坏消息:一幅15世纪的肖像画——画的是当时被谋杀的殉道者圣徒彼得(死时头上插着劈刀),X光照过之后,结果是一幅更早的男修道士画像,作者是乔凡尼·贝利尼。在做出改动之时,这位圣徒的肖像画市场比贝利尼画的市场要好。

Connoisseurship sometimes overrides scientific evidence. Analysis of the green paint in a small Roman landscape painted by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and dated to 1826 showed it to be viridian. Artists were thought not to have had access to that pigment until a decade later. Did that make the Corot a fake? Not at all. Further research showed that artists worked with viridian years earlier than had been thought. The Corot remains a Corot.

鉴赏功力有时会压倒科学证据。让-巴蒂斯特-卡米尔·柯罗在1826年画的一幅小幅罗马风景画,上面的绿色颜料经过科学分析被证明是铬绿色。而艺术家被认为在10年之后才有机会接触到这种颜料。据此,这幅柯罗画作是伪作吗?根本不是。进一步的研究表明,艺术家使用铬绿色的时间要比认为的早许多年。这件柯罗作品仍然是一件柯罗作品。

Ashok Roy, the National Gallery’s director of scientific research and co-curator of this exhibition, believes that while technology can determine who did not paint a picture, it cannot prove who did. Connoisseurship remains a powerful tool. Nicholas Penny, now the National Gallery’s director, believed that two Italian paintings were by Paolo Veronese and Raphael. Research proved him right.

国家美术馆科学研究部主任、本次展览的联合策展人阿肖克·罗伊认为,尽管科技能够认定一幅画不是谁画的,但是不能证明是谁画的。鉴赏功力仍然是一件强大的工具。国家美术馆现任馆长尼古拉斯·潘尼认定两幅意大利画作的作者是保罗·维洛奈斯塞和拉斐尔。经研究证明,他是对的。

Among the mistakes included in the show is a Dürer portrait that later research determined was not by his hand; a Botticelli, too. The gallery’s most famous reattribution is “The Madonna of the Pinks”, now identified as being by Raphael. The museum bought the reattributed work for £22m in 2004.

这次展出的误认作品包括一幅杜勒的肖像画,后经研究判定并非出自其手;还有一幅波提切利的作品也是如此。美术馆中最有名的经重新确定作品归属的作品是《粉红圣母》,现在被鉴定是拉斐尔的作品。该馆在2004年花2200万美元买下这幅作者被重新认定的作品。

Among the lessons to be learned at this exhibition is that not all attributions are necessarily for ever. Technology, however sophisticated, may be supplanted by better methods with the passing of time. This is not detective fiction; Sherlock Holmes can get it wrong. Attributions can often be hypotheses rather than unshakable facts. It is to the National Gallery’s credit that it has included some of its expensive misjudgments. Learning about the process is one of the pleasures of this show.

此次展览会教给我们的其中一课是,并非所有的作品归属都必然会永久不变。科技无论多么先进,都可能随时间流逝而被更好的方法所取代。这不是侦探小说;歇洛克·福尔摩斯也可能会弄错。作品的归属通常是一种假定,而非不可动摇的事实。国家美术馆能够将它一些昂贵的错误判断纳入展览的一部分,这是值得钦佩的。了解这个过程是这次展出的乐趣之一。