a revolutionary discovery
The article is provided in translation
from the Spanish language magazine Subastas.
on the images below for enlarged pop-up windows.]
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work of expertising and cataloging masterpieces is
one of the most important activities carried out by
the auction companies, antique dealers and museums.
The experts, not only risk their prestige and that
of the museum or institution they represent, but also
risk, not simply hundreds but thousands and even millions
It is not at all the same to catalog a painting of
an author of renowned prestige, than attribute it
to his circle, or to mention a certain school or epoch.
From that decision the price is going to substantially
depend, since it implies the dating and authorship
of the piece. SUBASTAS a specialized
Spanish magazine has requested the opinion of the
most important auction houses about this controversial
topic, and the experts have spoken with absolute clarity.
From their words we assume that, sometimes, there
is more will than resources and that, even more, a
regulation of those activities on the part of the
Administration or pertinent authorities would be necessary,
such as it is in France, the country that several
specialists cite as a model."
Antonio Perales Martinez is
one of the most recognized
experts in the work of Goya,
besides being a very renowned
skilled master restorer, has
worked in the National Historic
Archive and also in Spains
National Institute for Historical
Patrimony under the Ministry
of Education and Culture.
Perales Martinez accumulates more than 33 years of experience mostly related
to Goyas work. He has participated in multiple national as well
as internationals researches and studies for the discovery and authentication
of previously unknown Goyas paintings."
me, a good work of expertization must be done
on two fundamental bases: the documental historical
study and another physical and scientific.
Professor Perales has devoted a great part of
his life to the analysis of the work of Goya,
perfectly knowing the Spanish Old Masters
technique, which has allowed for him to develop
and copyright (No.44.834/No.70.990 of the Spanish
Intellectual Property Registry) an amazing system
that may revolutionize the cataloguing of paintings
of this Spanish Old Master, based on the micro-signatures,
and other peculiar and personalized identification
markings found in Goyas paintings.
good expert eye
Quesada is an expert in Andalusian paintings of
the XIX century and author of twenty something
books on the matter (among them The everyday
life in the Andalusian painting and Light
and fire in Spanish painting, which have
afforded him notoriety as a specialist, but, first
of all, he declares himself as a historian.
I am not dedicated to expertise
paintings, although collecting a high cachet
only for signing a certificate should not be done
without absolute certainty, although in the Art
World there are many friends that bring me their
paintings for me to see and offer my opinion.
I am not caught in my books for giving false data
and, of course, I feel capable of advising about
the legitimacy of a painting. According
to this specialist of the XVIII century, it is
in the antique houses and the auctions where the
best paintings are seen.
Antonio Perales Martinez, as a Spanish master
technician specialized in the restoring of
old masterpieces, whose forte is easel painting,
has touched with his hands an infinity of
Goyas engravings, water colors acuarelas
drawings, palettes, old parchments, hand fans,
ivories, and, above all, paint on wood and
canvas. According to him, each stroke, blurriness,
line or dot have their sense in the work,
a sense that transcends the aesthetic to convert
into a mark of its author.
a revolutionary discovery
Authentic Goyas could be being auctioned as anonymous
paintings, according to Professor Antonio Perales,
a most skillful technician in masterpiece restoring
who, after 33 years of work, has developed (and
patented) an ultramodern theory and scientific
method to irrefutably identify the work of this
genial aragonés artist, Francisco de Goya
y Lucientes. The secret lies in the micro-signatures,
minuscule identity signals that Francisco de Goya
inconspicuously cleverly spread through the painting.
But first and foremost, as in any scientific methodology,
a set of prerequisites have to be met in order
to initiate the detailed and meticulous scientific
analysis for certification and authentification.
TECHICAL AND SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS
According to Professor Perales, thanks to the
meticulous study that he following describes,
he has been able to positively identify as authentic
Goyas paintings that were NOT attributed
to the Spanish Old Master de Fuendetodos, or wrongly
attributed to other painters.
analysis: A thorough chemical analysis (chromatography)
of the pigments composition and make up. A renowned
Spanish Chemical Laboratory (Laboratorio para
el Analisis, Restauracion y Conservacion de Obras
de Arte) highly specialized in this particular
field of investigation and identification of works
of art is used. This allows identifying if the
pigments are corresponding to Goyas epoch
Reflectography: The use of infrared light
analysis permits observing those hidden micro
signatures shapes under the pictorial veil that
could not be discerned by the naked eye, as well
as any other existing drawing or any signs of
Radiography (X Rays): Determines the creative
form of execution of the artist, the conservation
state of the work and is a complement of the data
obtained by the precedent analyses of the pigments.
In Goyas case this technique arises the
presence of his micro signatures which do appear
in the X rays, given that Goya used to imbed then
in the foundation of his paintings using a metallic
charged ink.(More on this subject further on)
Photography: General high quality color
photo prints, detailed sections of the painting,
using color filters, magnifying lenses, macros,
approximation ring, etc.
Intensive visual analysis: Using high powered
magnifying lenses and under intense light conditions,
an in-depth visual observation for small rubrics,
graphisms* (*more in following articles) or micro
signatures hidden in inconspicuous places all
throughout the paintings surface.
Data compilation: If all of the precedent
tests, plus all the classical tests
and appreciation studies are positive, we practically
can then affirm, with no margin of error, the
authenticity of a work by the hand of Francisco
In the work of Goya there is always a sign, a stroke,
a symbol, a diminutive rubric, with which the author
stamps his authorship
have always existed, who have not wanted to recognize
these markings arising from light and color, the same
way that they did not want to recognize the small
signatures and writings that Goya included in all
his works. They can be observed by detailed analysis
with a magnifying lens, going over it centimeter by
centimeter. Goya painted works that even to date are
considered done by Velázquez, Vicente López,
Rubens, Rembrandt, Rafael the one from Verona, etc.
The confusion exists because a painting that has been
misattributed to another author carries its bad attribution
and no specialist wants to go back to the already
studied and catalogued, because he/she does not want
to rectify the opinion of the first expert. But this
group technique, according to Professor
Antonio Perales, is neither good for the universal
culture or for that of our own country (Spain), nor
for anyone that considers himself/herself honest,
because if a work of art is misattributed, one must
be brave and tell the whole truth and therefore be
given due credit.
There is nothing wrong about acknowledging a mistake,
more so, considering that at that time, there were
no technological means like the ones we have today,
to study the works of art. It has always been sensed
that, according to Professor Antonio Perales, the
creations of Goya have been subjected to manipulation.
example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in some troubled
acquisitions of the work of Goya, and after constant
study and investigation that were carried out in that
institution, in 1995 reached the conclusion that only
7 of the 17 oil paintings of the collection met the
standards of authorship done by the experts."
changes in criteria among the experts and
connoisseurs of the work of Goya
have been constant and as a consequence of
this mistake many of the artists youth
works have not been attributed as such and,
to this day, many still go as anonymous.
was indeed very prolific worker, of an extraordinary
fast execution to whom a couple of sessions would
often be sufficient for portraits painting. Therefore,
the numerous works of his youth as well as those
of his later years should be justly attributed to
him without ambiguities, mistakes and it should
be done unequivocally and in a verifiable, repeatable
scientific manner by anyone properly qualified as
to leave no room for any doubt.
restoring of numerous works of Goya has lead this
specialist to clear a very intricate path, sometimes
intimidated by the magnitude of the work of this
genius, touching his linen cloth canvases, and soaking
himself in his art. I have discovered declares
Professor Antonio Perales to Subastas what
I would have never expected and that gave me the
greatest surprise of my life and an immense joy:
the micro-signatures of Goya.
The specific stroke of Goya, a shadow, a silhouette
or a light lead the expert to interpret what Goya
wanted to transmit by his unfinished zones, his
pasting, his hidden messages, transparencies,
poetic visions, tormented or romantic attitudes,
sometimes depressive, simply detectable by its
chromatic variations, or moods
to discover how much is created by desire or by
devotion or when he does it due to economic necessity.
The works of his youth or his maturity have traces
that define them; something new is always defined,
nothing repeats itself.
Examining my first Goya I spent hours and hours
says Professor Perales-, studying the painting
in all of its facets. The study of lights and
shadows did not correspond to what is normally
studied in the art schools. Light appears in first
plane, while the zone of half-shadows and shadows
remains in a second plane. It is in that zone
of shadows where a site of light attracts the
attention powerfully; so I started to turn the
painting in all directions, until I got to decipher
what that illuminated zone wanted to convey to
centuries of silence
painter utilizes symbolic values that speak to us
through colors. There appear semi-hidden signatures,
diminutive, zoological symbolisms repeated throughout
the entire surface of the canvas, or any other media;
engraving, drawing, fresco, lithography,
tin, copper, crystal, wood, marble, etc.
Goya utilized very thin brushes and feathers, with
which he writes his micro signatures.
This originality went unnoticed at the time of the
artist and only Moratín knew the secrets the
secrets and mysteries of the Goyesque fantasy. Goya
remained silent and so did Moratín, keeping
a silence of complicity by reason of friendship, not
revealing the path that would expose the rigorous
judgments, his reserved and very controversial ------
(especially in Los Caprichos) that
the artist made of the most distinguished personalities
of his time, like the Queen or Godoy, or so many
other aristocratically respectful
characters of his era.
No wonder if one considers the potential consequences
of any vocal or evident negative opinion,
if ever known by his consigners, not to mention
it all happened in the times of the Santa
a very prolific author
it is that by performing exhaustive modern laboratory
tests, it has been possible to uncover works dating
to the time of Goyas youth, those works that
the artist did not classically signed
but only used rubrics.
Likewise, there has appeared part of some of those
works that he did for Cornelio Van Der Goten, when
he was required to do so as Painter of the Royal Factory
of Tapestries. Goya not only painted cartons, but
many works inspired on different artists of diverse
schools and styles. Professor Perales reaffirms himself
in his theory after having studied works that GOYA
painted after his stay in Italy and that have been
(wrongly) catalogued as of Italian provenance in the
so-called cuaderno italiano (Italian portfolio).
Despite Goya was very prolific, his catalogued work
is scarce. So, in the last catalogue of his paintings,
composed by the late professor José Luis Morales
y Marín, there appear 567 works. The one edited
by Pierre Gassier-Juliet Wilson reflects 1,870 works,
between graphic work and painted work.
It is very unlikely that an artist who started painting
at the age of 17 and that dies still painting at age
82 leaves only those few a little more than 1,800
works, and there are experts who are of the opinion
that Goya left at least 5,000 works. Picasso was much
more prolific and notwithstanding, his work has not
devaluated in the least.
Francisco de Goya continued painting during his old
age in Bordeaux, although in many cases he would no
longer use brushes, but he would use all sorts of
instruments, including old rags, to do his creations.
He painted a great number of pictures of small format
of Still Nature, he would walk through
the markets, retained in his mind what he had seen,
and would reflect it in a painting upon getting back
to his studio.
According to Professor Antonio Perales, nowadays we
have technical means that allow us to correctly and
accurately expertise these paintings of
Goya, quite a goal for us to feel proud of, beyond
the existing conflicts of interest and speculation.
A trait, a stroke, a sign, a stroke, a graphism, a
rubric, a number or an animalistic symbol that make
that his works are beyond confusion, and the technology
makes this all visible.
These discoveries are registered at the Registro
de la Propiedad Intelectual (The Registry of
Intellectual Property), acquiring judicial validity
according this expert.
Among the works most recently done by Professor Perales,
stands out the exhibit sponsored by the BCH in 1999,
entitled Recovered Masterpieces, in which
there were several paintings restored by Professor
Perales, like The Virgin with the Child
and San Juanito, of Luis de Orales, Ecce
Homo, of Simón de Vos, Llanto de Adán
y Eva sobre el Cuerpo de Abel attributed to
Having been sent by the Spanish Ministry of Culture,
he worked in Quito (Ecuador) at the San Francisco
Convent, training restorers and lecturing at the Central
Bank of Ecuador and at the House of Culture. He also
made reports of the churches at Plaza de Cuzco (Perú).
He has participated in assembling the exhibit of Filippo
Juvarra, in the Royal Palace and in the restoring
and mounting of the works at the exhibit of the MEAC,
entitled Private Spaces, as well as the
samples of the Ages of Man, among others.
One of the growing numbers of authors and scholars
who agree with the findings about Goyas unique
self authenticating technique proposed by Antonio
Perales is Agustín de la Herrán, who
publishes several books between 1956 and 1962 about
the symbolism of Goya. Likewise, similar texts have
been published in The Spanish Present Time
(1970) where an article was published in which other
Goya connoisseurs speak about the micro signatures
and other symbolisms.
Moreover, these theories have already been published
in the media by The Herald of Aragón
and channel Antena 3 of the Spanish T.V... In Italy,
there is another Goya expert, Paolo Erasmo Mangiante,
who openly coincides with the same theories.
If we accept this micro-signature technique to identify
the works of Goya, three inedited paintings of this
author (one of Carlos IV, another of Agustín
de Bentancourt, and a third one of Juan Subercase)
might be hung at the School of Engineers of Camino
somewhere in Spain among , perhaps, so many others
somewhere else in the World.
We are living in the XXI Century, called The
Technology Century, where computers, digital
T.V., cellular phones, and a myriad of advanced technical
devices allow us to perform incredible tasks
and yet, quite incredibly we are still relying on
personal impressions, totally subjective,
a matter of individual appreciation for
recognizing a mankinds treasure of art
for simply discard it!
Are we going to continue honoring the infamous: Believe
me, not your lying eyes
Or, differently said: Sophisticated modern technology
I am not
The above is part of a series of articles published
by the Spanish Magazine SUBASTAS. Reprinted
may not accurately portray specific Spanish expressions
or be totally literal.
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