Doo­dle that helped re­veal a mas­ter­piece

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - Daily Mail Re­porter

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

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