From the museum press release
The first major exhibition of its kind, Close examination: fakes, mistakes and discoveries celebrates the remarkable collaboration of scientists, conservators and art historians at the National Gallery.
The National Gallery’s Scientific Department was founded in 1934 and has become a world leader in the study of the materials and techniques of Western European paintings. Today, the department works ever more closely with curators and conservators to investigate the physical characteristics of works in the collection and to protect paintings for the future.
Modern scientific methods, including infrared imaging, X-ray images, electron microscopy and mass spectrometry can provide fascinating insights into the materials used by artists, studio practice and the ways paintings can change over time.
Close examination explores this pioneering work by presenting the varied and fascinating stories behind more than 40 paintings in the National Gallery’s collection. The exhibition is arranged over six rooms, representing some of the major challenges faced by Gallery experts: Deception and Deceit; Transformations and Modifications; Mistakes; Secrets and Conundrums; Redemption and Recovery; and a special focus room relating to Botticelli. The exhibition features works by Raphael, Dürer, Gossaert, Rembrandt and others.