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Sadly "It's a fake" was found written in felt tip pen when X-Rayed
September 20, 2013 5:31 PM   Subscribe

A long lost Vincent Van Gogh painting collecting dust in a Norwegian attic was recently identified as authentic. Thought to be inauthentic by the original purchaser after being declared fake in the 70's, technological advancements have allowed for closer scrutiny to be paid, allowing it to be fully authenticated.

Plus, looking in the upper left hand corner you can clearly see a familiar blue structure. Finally the rumors of intergalactic influence on the painter can be put to rest.
posted by mediocre (25 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
ooh, nice! Can I have it?
posted by sexyrobot at 5:51 PM on September 20, 2013


Just thinking about that episode makes my eyeballs moist. It's like free Visine, but with 100% more Bill Nighy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:17 PM on September 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


My favorite commentary on the idea of a painting's worth being due to its creator and not its quality is this neon version of Rembrandt's signature, since apparently this is the valuable part.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 PM on September 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


If I was that industrialist, it's CLOBBERING TIME on that first person to say it was fake.
posted by Samizdata at 6:29 PM on September 20, 2013


Dr. Zira: "Just thinking about that episode makes my eyeballs moist. It's like free Visine, but with 100% more Bill Nighy."

Just a note - EVERYTHING is better with a dose of Bill Nighy.
posted by Samizdata at 6:30 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


My wife was telling me about this a few days ago. She was super stoked.

Also +1 for the City of Death reference in the title.
posted by charred husk at 7:13 PM on September 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Van Gogh confessed that the painting was "well below what I'd wished to do."

Which gives the old pre-science guy authenticators a bit of a break. I mean to say, the sky impasto - a bit heavy handed, wouldn't you say?
posted by IndigoJones at 7:27 PM on September 20, 2013


Look at that "S"-Car Gogh!

not_on_display confessed that this comment was "well below what I'd wished to do."
posted by not_on_display at 7:30 PM on September 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


My favorite commentary on the idea of a painting's worth being due to its creator and not its quality is this neon version of Rembrandt's signature, since apparently this is the valuable part.

It's enough to sell toothpaste.
posted by maryr at 7:33 PM on September 20, 2013


Yes, I think it'd be best to hide that one in the attic for a few years, not_on_display.
posted by maryr at 7:33 PM on September 20, 2013


Dr. Hibbert: But what to do with poor Hugo? Too crazy for Boys Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town. The child was an outcast. So, we did the only humane thing.
Homer: We chained Hugo up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.
Marge: It's saved our marriage.


Now image that, only with this painting instead of Hugo.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:36 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plus, looking in the upper left hand corner you can clearly see a familiar blue structure.

Oh, io9, you so crazy embarrassing.
posted by Spatch at 7:38 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a SF fan, live in Chicago, and have listened to Ozzy Osborne, so that's the most confusing comment I've ever seen.
posted by eriko at 7:43 PM on September 20, 2013


"City of Death" is probably my favorite Classic Who.

I don't know about this particular painting but:

He said it's not impossible another unknown or lost Van Gogh could be found someday. The artist is believed to have completed more than 800 works. While he destroyed some when he wasn't satisfied with the results, the whereabouts of others that are mentioned in his letters or early catalogs of his work are unknown.

We will be seeing more "lost" Van Goghs in the future.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:58 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


X-rays would not detect the felt tip tipoff unless it was some kind of very specialized metal-laying felt tip, such as those occasionally used for circuit board repair. I don't think the Doctor had one of those handy, so he was using a regular modern Sharpie. You would need to do neutron activation analysis or completely strip the paint off to detect that.
posted by localroger at 7:58 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sadly "It's a fake" was found written in felt tip pen when X-Rayed

Wait, so this didn't happen?
posted by grog at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2013


Plus, looking in the upper left hand corner you can clearly see a familiar blue structure.


Nerds ruin world's art heritage
posted by Bwithh at 11:53 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved that episode. Also the Tom Baker episode where Leonardo painted six Mona Lisas.
posted by Sintram at 12:13 AM on September 21, 2013


Wait, so this didn't happen?

I'm unaware of specific examples of x-ray picking up pen, but I can recall reading multiple instances in which x-ray (and Infrared, and UV (is that the same?), and Neutron radiography) was used to image separate layers of paint. I do know that UV pens are sometimes used to mark paintings for ID purposes.
posted by tychotesla at 3:54 AM on September 21, 2013


This is great for me, since I am unable to process any kind of artistic achievement unless it's connected to a science fiction TV show I watch.
posted by Legomancer at 6:39 AM on September 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


IR (longer wavelengths beyond red) and UV (shorter wavelengths beyond blue) can sometimes distinguish materials that look authentic in normal light but aren't the same to these invisible-to-humans wavelengths, but they are not penetrating and do not reveal what lies beneath a layer of paint. Most paints, dyes, and inks are completely transparent to X-rays. Neutron activation is the only nondestructive technique which can reconstruct hidden layers of normal pigments, and it was only first used for this in the 1980's.

Neutron activation is also very tricky and expensive, because it works by first using the neutron beam to make the object radioactive and then measuring the energies of the induced gamma radiation at each point to reveal what elements beneath the detector have picked up the neutrons and are now decaying to get rid of them.
posted by localroger at 6:48 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The structure is Montmajour Abbey, which seems about a thousand times cooler than a neu-Who reference, what with the history dating back to 949, fortifications, and tombs carved into rock.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:16 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aw, I was hoping it was a fake, if only so Facebook would, if only briefly, stop muddying up every. single. fucking. thing. in news, arts, and culture by turning it into yet another excuse to talk about fucking Doctor Who.

I don't even have a problem with the program itself but jeez.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:52 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Darnit, Montmajour isn't blue! I've been there. It's sandy colored-like. Sure this isn't a late Monet after all?
posted by Namlit at 9:50 AM on September 21, 2013


Not enough cataract-red. Also, you tell what it is.
posted by maryr at 7:37 AM on September 22, 2013


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