Sarah Kaufman gets caught up in the Washington Post in museum world rumors that the MFA has a lost Leonardo:
We ask Renaissance painting expert Miguel Falomir Faus if he knows anything about the painting. He tells us in an e-mail that he had lunch recently with New York University art history professor Alex Nagel in New York, and: “he talked [to] me about the new Da Vinci.” Faus adds, however: “I have not seen the work (I don’t even know its subject).”
Nagel, for his part, further stirs the pot with his own e-mail to us: “How can I comment on a painting I haven’t seen? Do you have a photo?” […]
The fact is, where Da Vinci is concerned, hype and art have become inextricably entwined. “It would change the fortunes of the MFA if they had a real Leonardo,” says Nagel, the art history professor. “If you can make this definitely a work by Leonardo, a lot of money is going to be changing hands. When that’s the dominant concern, there’s great pressure to want something to be the real thing.” […]
Stamping any new finding as definitively Da Vinci’s — he was, after all, one of the world’s most copied artists — would be exceedingly difficult, says John Brewer, author of The American Leonardo: A Tale of Obsession, Art and Money. “We all have this fantasy that we’ve gotten better and better at authenticating,” he says. But the new technologies — forensics, infrared imaging and so forth — “will only tell you whether it’s not by someone.
“Scientific technology is good at spotting bad fakes. But to be able to say yes as opposed to saying no, that depends on the cultured eye of the expert. And that’s intuitive.”
Rumors Abound That a New Da Vinci Painting Has Been Found in Boston (Washington Post)