Doodle that helped reveal a masterpiece
A MASTERPIECE by the Renaissance painter Botticelli has been rediscovered... in Wales.
Portraying an image of the Madonna, the 400-year-old work was dismissed as a crude copy.
But experts working with BBC Four programme Britain’s Lost Masterpieces have now found it to be an original. Analysis revealed marks unique to Botticelli’s studio, and X-ray scans uncovered a small doodle of a face believed to be made by the artist himself.
Dr Bendor Grosvenor, co-presenter of the show, said: ‘I was struck by the extraordinary beauty of the Madonna’s face. ‘Despite all the overpaint, parts of it reminded me of Botticelli’s most famous painting, the Birth Of Venus. I’m now convinced that Botticelli played an important part in its production, and am delighted it has once more gone on public display.’ The artwork made its way from the studio of the Florentine master to the collection of Welsh philanthropist Gwendoline Davies in Cardiff.
It was bequeathed to the National Museum, Cardiff, but its origins were doubted. Now proven to be the work of the Florentine, the painting will be displayed there. Born around 1445, Sandro Botticelli was considered to be one of the most esteemed artists in Italy at the height of his fame.
Britain’s Lost Masterpieces can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer.
In the frame: 400-year-old artwork now believed to have been painted by Botticelli
X-ray: Scan shows doodle of a face