Bargain Hunts Natasha astonished by 500-year old painting mystery

Morning Live: Natasha Raskin-Sharp inspects 500-year-old painting

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Bargain Hunt expert Natasha Raskin-Sharp recently took a look at the mystery behind a 16th-century painting which was believed to be the work of renaissance artist Titian. Using new technology, painting experts were able to pinpoint the exact pigment Titian used, putting an end to the ongoing debate over the origin of the popular painting.

Kicking off the segment during Tuesday morning’s Morning Live, Natasha explained: “For hundreds of years, people have been arguing about the priceless work of art.

“Is it by Titian? One of the masters of renaissance paintings, is it a copy? Or is it in fact by another artist?

“Some of the colours used appear to be typical of Titan’s work but cutting-edge technology is now able to scan it for new clues.”

She went along to Apsley House in London, home of the Wellington collection, where the team were ready to look further than the surface of the painting.

Natasha met with Alice Tate Hart who was just as keen as her to uncover the truth over the age-old mystery.

Alice explained: “So that is what we are trying to find out, whether it was painted by Titian and his workshop or somebody else entirely.”

Natasha continued: “As the team set up the equipment in the gallery, the 500-year-old painting is carefully taken out of its frame, ready for the detective work to begin.

“The first step is to analyse the scan which allows them to see below the surface layer of the painting.”

Explaining the delicate process, Alice revealed: “The infrared penetrates further through the panting than our eyes can see.

“So that means we start seeing changes that the artist made when they were painting and drawing.”

Excited by the promising evidence, Natasha asked: “Does that mean definitively that this isn’t a copy?” as Alice confirmed: “It is pretty strong evidence.”

The team were hunting for clues the same material could have been used that was typical of Titian paintings.

They discovered a pigment which had been used in dark blue but made lighter with white, which meant an analysis of the material was needed.

Conservation scientist Dr David Thickett joined the team and said: “What we are going to do is bombard the surface of the paint with x-rays.

“We will then look at those x-rays and we will be able to tell which elements are present in the paint.”

As the test results came in, David excitedly revealed: “I think we have found what we hoped to find, we have some white, and cobalt, there is also a trace of arsenic there which is common.”

Alice added: “So it seems that it was the particular kind of pigment that was available in Venice at the time that Titian and his workshop were working.

“The infrared together with the material analysis shows that this is a product from Titian’s workshop.

“We still don’t know how much involvement Titian had in it but it certainly made in Titian’s workshop in the 16th century.”

Morning Live airs weekdays from 9:15am on BBC One.

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