Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Fingerprint Your Painting

Biometrics is big in the security world and fingerprints have been used as evidence by the forensic community since 1892. How does that relate to art?

Here is this idea: you can authenticate your painting by leaving your fingerprint in the fresh paint.

If you are prolific and become famous, this could help sorting out your works from clever fakes. As any anti-counterfeiting measure, it would be even more effective if kept it secret. A crazy idea? Just consider this:
  • It is simple enough to be implemented right now if you want to.
  • It costs nothing.
  • It is discrete and will not deface your art
A recent article published in The Sunday Times (December 2, 2007), “Police ‘dust’ paintings for priceless Leonardo da Vinci dabs” explains how the Italian police are looking for Leonardo da Vinci’s prints on two Renaissance paintings. The two paintings in question are La Madone de Laroque and Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Some experts believe that La Madone de Laroque is by Giampietrino, an artist who worked in da Vinci’s workshop, while others believe it is a work by the master himself. The other painting, Catherine of Alexandria, is believed to be by Giampietrino.

An attribution of one or both paintings to Leonardo da Vinci would mean a dramatic increase of their financial value… Art experts' reputation is also at stake.

The article mentions that Leonardo da Vinci was using his fingers when painting:
“Studies have shown the tips of the artist’s fingers were used to create a soft-focus effect in several parts of the painting, a technique for which Leonardo is famous.

Sometimes using his blood, sweat and urine, Leonardo also blended the still malleable paint with his fingers and palms to create an effect in areas such as a face joining hair. The traces of his fingers are visible only from very close up.”

The police, with the help of the University of Chieti in central Italy and the Museo Ideale in Vinci (Leonardo da Vinci’s birthplace near Florence), have taken photographs of fingerprints on the paintings. They also have a database of 200 incomplete fingerprints of Leonardo da Vinci which have been gathered in the past three years.

The police are going to use the same techniques they use with fingerprints in criminal investigations.

It will be interesting to read their findings.

Works by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks
Wikipedia Entry for Leonardo da Vinci

No comments: