Art: 16th Century Fraud

Most strollers in Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum of Art passed by Carpaccio's murky, golden Meditation on the Passion without noticing anything wrong. Those who looked twice saw that the label said Carpaccio but the picture was signed "Andreas Mantinea" (Mantegna).

Last week Meditation's tobacco tones had disappeared, and so had Mantegna's signature. In its place was a faint scrawl. The Museum explained:

Scholars had long felt sure that the Meditation was Carpaccio's, but it took microchemical tests to prove it. Beneath three layers of varnish, the Met's experts came across some 16th Century skullduggery. A...

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