Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Analysing the Leutwitz Apollo (1) Introduction


Bennett (2013, pp 53-72) describes the "exhaustive research" which the CMA claims to have done in May to December 2003 (but no later?) on the Leutwitz Apollo which they bought in the summer of 2004 in order to establish its authenticity and collecting history. In the book, mention is made of the consultation with specialists, the taking of "physical samples and x-rays and investigat[ing] fully the Apollo's ownership history" (p. 53). In a series of posts above I explain why in my opinion it is difficult to accept that they have done anything like a "full investigation" of the ownership history, leaving many questions unasked and some important information totally ignored. The effect is amateurish. Unfortunately it would seem that the "scientific" testing has been rather skimpy too, and the interpretation and on closer examination the presentation of the results may be seen to lack any semblance of intellectual rigour. The first part of the rather skimpy text of the relevant chapter concerns the "Scientific tests and observations" (pp. 53-60, just seven pages) and claims to "bring together all the significant technical analyses and observations to date".

Bennett stresses (p. 53) that as far as he is concerned "the conclusions reached through laboratory tests and examinations support and fully corroborate the testimonies addressing the work's ownership history". He means Hypothesis "A", I am not convinced by his arguments. Neither do I accept that the tests they have done 2003-2013 can by any stretch of the imagination be called "exhaustive" (see below)  nor do some of them in fact "prove" what they are supposed to prove. In the next few posts (reading downwards, they have been posted in reverse order) I want to discuss - as far as is possible from the skimpy presentation by the art-historian - these results and demonstrate that (if anyone was in any doubt) they are by no means the watertight proof the Museum represents them to be.

There will be fifteen (or so) posts, some may still be "under construction" for the next few days.

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