Goya's graphism in his famous and widely known painting: "Condesa de Chinchon."

Condesa de Chinchón, Museo del Prado. Measures 126 x 144 cms. (49.5 inches X 56.6 inches.)
Graphism is encircled for better appreciation. Turn photo 90 degrees counterclockwise to observe the delineated shape of a RAM'S head, sideways, facing up towards the subject's face. It has been marked over the acrylic for better appreciation. Check black eye location, darker coloration on tip of animal's snout, mouth's slit, rounded backward horns, ear's shape, etc. Is it yet another "random configuration"? Check it out yourself and reach your own conclusion.
Goat or Ram's head without any enhancement.
Delineated shape of Goya's graphism found in "Condesa de Chinchon."
IMPORTANT UPDATE! Prof. Perales certifications officially recognized by Actualidad Economica, Spain's most prestigious business publication.

"Some authors have several official certifiers and that complicates things. Goya has three recognized signatures:

Manuela Mena, chief conservatrice of the XVIII Century Paintings of the Prado Museum;  the professor and restorer Antonio Perales; and the British art-historian Julliet Wilson-Bareau"...

"Each painting with its passport"

Also in this number of A.E. (Actualidad Economica) Mr. Albert Canals who is the General Director for A.I.C.O.A. (Asociacion International Conservacion Objetos de Arte) sponsor with Applus+of the W.A.S.F Foundation (see article in this site, page 3 "Divas v/s Science") shows the prototype of an "Art Object Passport" (see picture) and pretends to set forth a guide of good practices in the art world, in which great art collectors like the Koplowitz sisters, the Duchess of Alba and Juan Abello are involved. The World Foundation also wants to create a "passport", or even an electronic "chip" to follow the trace of any art piece.

When it comes to the very serious subject of art authentication, looking at a picture and passing an opinion, just as Manuela Mena from El Prado does is obsceneously not enough. Neither is looking in a book!


Art Authentication is a finely tuned art in itself . Specifically, art authentication must be proven beyond doubt, both academically & forensically, just as in a case placed before a court of law for its judgment.

It must be sound and professionally conducted to the highest quality. The various procedures surrounding the authentication of art is a complicated, diverse and thorough professional occupation. In itself, art authentication takes many hours of dedicated & detailed research time, intricate study and most of all sophisticated forensic and academic analysis too in its pursuit and finite qualification of authentication.
Authentication, investigation and research are the quintessential cornerstones of a legitimate authentication, not a superfluous, mostly a "run of the mill"  look at a picture for denying perhaps a previously unseen Goya's masterpiece and yet, almost incredibly that's the way it is routinely done by Manuela Mena.

BREAKING NEWS! Goya's signatures found in the cupola of the
Article published by Juan Dominguez Lasierra on 03/22-2006 in The Heraldo de Aragon, Section Tribuna, Page 20.

Signatures in the "Espiritu Santo" (Holy Spirit").

The veil of "Regina Martyrium " is removed after six years or perhaps even more, and what is it that is discovered besides some other considerable defects due to water leaks and other accidents? It is discovered that the "Holy Spirit", in its habitual shape of a pigeon, was protecting Goya's cupola of "El Pilar". It is so explained that after a long delay in its restoration, the damages weren't major and that the "Regina Martyrum" shall not be lying on the floor. The pigeon, located at the top of the immense cupola, was hidden, according to the information appeared in its day, underneath a layer of blue paint which is the reason why it went unnoticed. 

Whom it did not go unnoticed for was the Goya specialist Antonio Perales, who as soon as he saw the spiritual pigeon through the pages of our newspaper, set everything in motion to put to the test his expertise methods: to uncover in his paintings the micro-signatures that, according to his theory, constitute the "cotton test" in order to certificate without mistake that it is a work of the genius of Fuendetodos.

And may the gentlemen of the Cabildo (City Council) be at peace, since in the end, they are the owners of the painting: the pigeon is Goya's. In a set of photographs furnished by him, in which he has employed several scanning procedures there appeared at least seven of those signatures, that in no case are "micro" taking into account the pigeon's dimensions.

Perales is enthusiastic about the discovering of that winged subject that has allowed him to further ratify his method. -And surely there is more!-he tells me-If you scan the photo yourself you will be able to discover them on your own ...

I get a call from Antonio M.C. to tell the me there are great news about Goya's pigeon. -What? That micro signatures have appeared?-I responded.- No, that it has the avian flu.... For this, the method of Antonio Perales is worthless.

Non verbatim translation from Spanish.

Note of editor: Juan Dominguez Lasierra (Zaragoza, 1943) is a prestigious Spanish intellectual whose merits go from several degrees in different Spanish Universities to the publishing of specialized art magazines, books, articles in many different media, etc. Don Juan Dominguez Lasierra, among many other accomplishments and as a biographer, art critic, has conducted personal interviews with  science, art, literary, music world celebrities such as Salman Rushdi, Henri Cartier-Besson,Yoko Ono, Severo Ochoa, and many others.

He has been recipient of several noted awards for his accomplishments, among them the "Jeronimo Zurita" award for a journalist series "Vision of Zaragoza".

He is presently the editor in chief of "El Heraldo de Aragon" with an experience of 35 years and is active in all aspects of the Spanish Cultural Media. His c.v.' body is simply too extensive to be reproduced here. 

We congratulate Don Juan Dominguez de Lasierra for his continued and supported interest in this Goya differendum and we strongly wish he continues to bring it forth to the public knowledge, thus denying the protection of ignorance and shadowy manipulations that have been the tools of those who DO NOT WANT the truth to be known.   End of commentary.

Museo del Prado e-mail :    museo.nacional@prado.mcu.es

Miniaturized signatures and symbols present in Goya's famous "Cuaderno Italiano" his personal hand book where he used to sketch his potential characters
Front cover. A transparent acrylic sheet WITH highlighted miniaturized signatures, "Xs" and capital initials is placed over it for better detection.
Transparent acrylic removed. Observed the same encircled areas of the cover.
Same cover with the transparent acrylic sheet removed. Careful observation shows the undeniable identification marks of the great Spanish Old Master Francisco de Goya.
Another view of the front and back cover of "El Cuaderno Italiano" with Prof.Perales' identification labels and markings circled for better appreciation. Click on image for additional information on Internet

The Italian Sketchbook, recently acquired by the Museo del Prado, is a collection of figure sketches, copies of compositions, churches and collections which Goya made during his stay in Italy. He probably used the book throughout the 1770s with the intention of recording, personal recollections of events that occurred in his life such as his wedding, and the birth and christening of his children.

 Goya used various techniques: charcoal, sanguine and ink. The brushstrokes are firm and vigorous, while the drawings show great freedom in the movement of the figures, reinforced by precise touches of shadowing. On the reverse of page 64 and the obverse of page 65 sketches can be seen of the works of devotion which are kept in the Museo de Zaragoza.      



San Pedro Arrepentido. St Peter Repentant 1823-25 Oil on canvas, 29 x 25,5 cm Phillips Collection, Washington
Tres zoografismos goyescos disimulados en el oleo. En el primero, vista frontal de cabeza de lobo. Ver rectangulo insertado donde se pueden discernir sus dientes bajo el hocico o morro.
Cabeza canina vista de frente. Notar hocico prominente, fauces abiertas con dientes y colmillo prominente visibles bajo el hocico ancho y obscuro.
Vista frontal de cabeza de gato obscura. Notar configuracion del hocico, orejas y ojos.
Notar ojo de la serpiente, colmillo superior prominente y coloracion particular.
Goya's "Zoo-graphism" (animal form) found in classic painting "Fernando VII in Royal Robes", 1814.
Original as it appears on Goya's catalogue. Fernando VII by Goya, 1814. Goya's depiction of a famous Spanish monarch. Did Goya feel compelled to insert close to the royal heart...a deer's head, a noble animal? Observe attentively the shining black eye, the contour of the animal's head ending in the large black snout, the mouth shape is also visible, the roundness of the deer's cheek right underneath the eye. Is it a deer's head really there? Or perhaps, again it is only yet another random configuration...? And yes, excercise your "goyaesque sight" since in this one, like in any other Goya creation there is more to see than meets the eye.... Ready for Goya? See next photo below!
Pay your attention to the content of the red circled area.
Profile of a deer's head. Facing right, shining black eye, top of the head's contour, darker end of the animal's snout, slit of mouth right underneath. Quite a "random" configuration" isn't it?
Marquesa de Santiago, 1804. Goya's oleo property of the J.P.Getty Museum of Art.
Observe the details within the red circles
#1.- A parrot's head sideways, facing left. The upper and lower beak and eye are discernable. Some "pixelation" has occurred from excessive magnification.
2.-Masked face with a fool's cone hat with veil. Dark mask (antifaz) covering eyes is noticeable.
Transparent cat's face in collar broidery
3.-The most "goyaesque" and difficult of them all. The "sfumato" technique. A transparent cat's face staring at you head slighty tilded to its right. Magnifying glass helpful.
Goya, a genius inspired in other geniuses. His versions of existing works by famous European Old Masters
Right: "Anibal, vencedor" (Anibal, vanquisher) Francisco de Goya 1771, Property of Fundation Selgas-Fagalde, Spain
Left image: "Herminia entre los Pastores" (Herminia amongst the shepherds) Domenico Corvi 1770. Right image: "Anibal, vencedor" (Hannibal, vanquisher) By Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, 1771, Property of Selgas-Fagalde Foundation, Cudillero, Spain. These 2 paintings are shown as a mere example as for obvious reasons of space, it would be rather impossible to show all of them here. We recommend the book of Prof. Paolo Erasmo Mangiante, where this subject is treated with amplitude. Another remarkable example of this theme is the painting of "San Lorenzo de Brindisi", where obvious and evident Corvi's influence are present although Goya personalized his version and made changes. Shown here next.
San Lorenzo de Brindisi. Image Nro.1 is Corvi's original, source of Goya's insipiration, nevertheless, his creation differs from the original in several ways, the priest's position (Corvi's is kneeled, Goya's is asleep on the floor) likewise the angels are in a different setting, and other differences are found. A copy? Certainly not. The lower images Nro. 3 is Gianquinto's original "Extasis of San Antonio de Abad". Here again in Nro. 4, Goya's version there are changes made in the composition. We apologise of the print quality being a reproduction from a published spanish newspaper.
Mismo tema, mismos personajes, diferente ejecucion de Corvi en version de Goya
Related Spanish Press Article:

"Whenever there is a demand in the market there's also the apparition of the offer". It is so said. Really curious is what happened with the Rembrandt Operation*: the experts searchers where looking for recent falsifications and quite to their surprise what they found was that the majority of them were from the same time as the painter.

Their own contemporaries have to be looked upon. For instance, Goya's own disciple Esteve, who worked in his own atelier, made copies. Letters exist from Goya to clients stating: "su copia esta casi lista..." (your copy is almost done). This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to do a catalogue for Esteve.

There are a lot of portraits by Ascensio Julia and there are no documents. Those made by Luca are the easiest to detect, but not so those of Alenza, who was already making copies by 1830, and who was already a very virtuoso painter, of a great technique, and whose own production were pastiches, nevertheless, when he made a "Goya" he could easily pass it on like a "real" one.

Definitively, the whole XVIII Century has to be revised, the thing happening with Maella is symptomatic and it reveals that nobody has closely looked at the whole group of artists contemporaries with Goya that were all around him, and with whom he had to compete in the intrigues of the royal palace as well as in the market to be able to obtain  an  assignation for a work, Goya knew them all..! " End of excerpt.

"The Rembrandt Operation" is an electronic verification process of works or art of this Dutch old master done by the independent non profit organization Veritus A.G.-

Note of the Editor: Hence a potential genesis of his obsessive compulsion of identifying in redundant ways HIS own creations, whether totally original or inspired versions of other great old masters, contemporaries or otherwise.

A falsifier, definitely not, a master creator, an eternal learner, an admirer of the work of other old masters that, perhaps, in his magnificent talent he thought could be improved , but always, and probably out of self respect, he exhaustively identified his works with his ingenious method of hidden miniaturized signatures, "X"s, imbedded graphics, etc. so cleverly disguised that no one would disqualify his commissions... what a unique and ingenious way of protection and self authentication of his work!

And he was right, nobody was the wiser...until now!

Museo del Prado e-mail: museo.nacional@prado.mcu.es

Chemicals, X-Rays, and Surprises

Close Examinations
National Gallery: Close Examinations

Article by Michael Kimmelman about the science that is now brought to bear and understanding (and verifying) works of art. As the tools become more precise, the reliance on 'eye technique' fades a little more.

Exhibit is at the
National Gallery in London. Runs from June 30 to September 12, 2010

Coverage of the "Close Examinations" exhibit at the London National Gallery from the New York Times:

start quote At first blush “Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries,” here at the National Gallery, has the quaint, cheerfully scholastic earnestness of a science fair. Some 30 pictures from the permanent collection, most of them culled from storage, have been enlisted to anchor a flurry of wall texts, X-rays and the sort of enlarged microscopic cross sections of layered pigments and varnish vaguely resembling the cautionary photographs of plaque that elementary school teachers flourish before floss-wary fourth graders.

A celebratory primer on polarized light microscopy and other cumbersomely termed diagnostic tools employed by conservators today to determine when and how a picture was made, the show may sound like homework.

But it isn’t; far from it. It’s one of those gems, which, amid the hard science, stumbles onto squishier truths about what we are really looking for when we look at art. Out to instruct us in the chemistry of painting, it ends up suggesting how elusive art remains despite all the gadgets that we devise to master it.

...There is, for example, the Italian Renaissance painting of a young woman, brunet, demure and wide-eyed, standing before a window, that entered the National Gallery’s collection in the mid-19th-century. Was it by Lorenzo Lotto or Palma Vecchio? Experts debated. Either way, she was a beauty, they agreed, despite her blemish: a layer of damage visible just beneath her hair, which conservators only got around to checking in 1978. They discovered — you guessed it — that the demure brunette covered up a sultry blonde whose hair had been darkened, jaw line and brow softened, eyes widened and breasts made more discreet to contrive what the unknown “restorer” more than a century ago thought fellow Victorians would regard as a comelier Renaissance portrait.

The original was still Italian, still Renaissance, although hardly like the faux-Renaissance version that masked it. To modern eyes the cleaned picture looks more striking, while the shenanigans that passed for conservation a century ago only prove how taste is hostage to its era. end quote

I would like to see as thorough an examination done of the Goya paintings that are in the museums. Records indicate, for example, that much repainting had been done to the Goya Black Paintings during restoration efforts, perhaps even altering the actual figure positions and placement in some cases.

In the Sharon Waxman book Loot: Stolen Treasures of the Art World, she recounts a sometimes bewildering tale of how museums can trick others, trick themselves, or simply get taken by crooks selling artworks. In discussing some of these items, for example marble objects from the mediterranean, she shows how a museum could "restore and clean" something while actually bleaching the object with chemicals to brighten and "whiten" it in order to change the object to fit the expectations of the viewer, when in fact the original state of the marble was a different hue and painted.

Along these same lines, the Orson Welles documentary F for Fake shows how talented forgers create art that passes the 'eye test' to get into galleries and museums, and that manipulation sometimes doesn't just depend upon painting or sculpting something to look like some famous artists work, but to flatter the experts who guard the gates into the art world of lucrative sales.

Coming next: Goya, his early years, little known mithological themes...and more!