Bloomberg’s Philip Boroff deserve’s credit for pulling the trigger first on Yale’s newly re-discovered Velazquez painting The Education of the Virgin Mary. But Jori Finkel has the most extensive story in the LA Times chronicling the seven-year effort to prove John Marciari’s hunch that the work was by the Spanish master:
“I definitely thought it was a compelling painting. But it wasn’t until a few months later, when I pulled out the painting again, that it hit me: This is an early Velázquez.” He said it was like combing through a catalog of images in his mind, until something clicked. “This is how connoisseurship works,” he says, “It’s not so different than a doctor looking at a group of symptoms and identifying a disease.”
He spent time over the following years marshalling stylistic evidence and technical data to support his hunch. He found comparable elements, such as St. Anne’s ochre-colored draperies and St. Joachim’s basket, in accepted Velázquez works. He did technical analysis and found the canvas and pigments consistent with what we know about Velázquez, down to the way the artist combined azure blue and yellow ochre to make green. And Marciari worked with a conservator at Yale to take X-rays of the image.