Forgery is a normal aspect of the art world. This topic is about the skill involved in producing ‘true’ forgeries within the world of art. It is stressed that the forger is to be seen as an artist, in that he or she must sometimes enter the mind of the original artist, master his or her techniques, and otherwise execute works that can withstand the expert eye. There are many ways that people will do in order to make a fast buck without thinking about the techniques that are done to detect forgery.
The imitation of works of art, from paintings to sculpture, has been carried out for hundreds of years. Students and followers have always made copies of the works of master artists as part of their instruction. There are many artists, both unprofessional and professional, who like to paint or draw in the style of those they admire. Art forgery, however, is different. It involves passing a copy of the artist’s work off as created by the original artist, usually for financial gain. Forgers often give themselves away even before laboratory analysis of their work begins.
They often add an element of their own natural style, or they may unknowingly include some contemporary period detail that the historian will notice immediately. Art experts also comment on a “lack of freedom” to many forgeries, as the forger sometimes uses more rigid brush strokes or lines to capture details of the original work. The thought processes of a master piece creating a work of art is different from those of someone far less talented who is merely trying to imitate him or her.
Often this difference will spill out into the work, although the forger may not be aware of it. An analysis of forgery must rely on more than the expert opinion of an art historian. Laboratory materials techniques such as X-radiography and infrared reflectography help detect forgery. Recent artistic materials, like paper, inks, and paints are different in composition today from those used hundreds of years ago. The art work ages from the moment they are created as a result of exposure to the atmosphere, handling, and other factors.
So, there for the expert forger may try to unnaturally age his or her work to make it looks as if it was created long ago” (Detecting forgery: forensic investigation of document: By Joe Nickell. ) If the investigator finds regular saw marks on a painting it is a strong indication of a fake. The investigator will then focus on the edge of the painting, using a special magnifier or infrared light to detect the nature of the ground layer. This kind of testing is not destructive to the painting. A cross-sectional sample can then by studied by x-radiography or microscopy to reveal all four layers and their composition.
A scientific assessment of the paint layer can help to confirm a work’s age and realism. The investigator will look at the materials and how they are handled, which may be attribute of the individual artist. The pigments that give paints their color evolve over time . “Earth colors, derived from minerals such as iron oxide came first, followed by greens, blues, and black . By the nineteenth century the introduction of synthetic dyes such as the anilines were far more chemically and physically stable.
And if the pigments prove too modern for its alleged date, then there are various possibilities (The Expert versus the Object: Judging Fakes and False Attributions in the Visual Arts:by Ronald D. Spencer. 241 pgs. )” Then the work may be a forgery, and it shows that the painting has been touched up, or the dating may be false. A re-paint is not necessarily a sign of forgery. If a re-paint is found in the work it said to be of an artist who did not alter their work, then it is cause for suspicion. This may be a sign of a forger trying to correct a mistake.
Likewise, if reflectography can reveal underdrawings in a painting. However, some artists do begin their work with a sketch used as a basis for the painting, unlike some other artist. The investigator would be alerted if an underdrawing was revealed in the art work. There for, the lack of an underdrawing might be indicative of forgery. The aging of paint shows itself by a characteristic pattern known as craquelure. Examination of the surface of the paint with a magnifying glass will reveal whether the extent of the craquelure matches the alleged age of the painting.
Many paintings are polished to protect them and improve their appearance. Besides examining the four layers of a painting, the investigator will also look out for other significant signs of realism. Some manufacturers of artists’ material marked their products with a stamp including dates. Some artists sign their work and the forger may attempt to forge their signature. It is only when they offer of this work is for sale at an exaggerated price and attempt to represent the work as an original, that they enter the realms of forgery.