Exhibition of painting undoubtedly a Raphael extended

Article dated Friday Sep 22, 2023 at 10:02 AM

Due to positive feedback Bradford Council is excited to be able to announce that it’s to extend the run of a painting undoubtably by the artist Raphael.

The de Brecy Tondo went on display at Cartwright Hall in Bradford in July and was due to finish it’s run at the Bradford Council museum in September, but this has now been extended until 3 January 2024. This is the first time anywhere in the world that the painting has been on public display.

The mystery painting found to be "undoubtedly" by Raphael has been the subject of research and debate for more than 40 years thanks to its resemblance to Raphael's Sistine Madonna. Recent analysis using artificial intelligence-assisted computer-based facial recognition showed the faces in the paintings are IDENTICAL to those in Raphael's famous altarpiece.

Following his initial analysis, Professor Hassan Ugail, Director of the Centre of Visual Computing at the University of Bradford, has since developed a new AI model to recognise paintings by Old Masters. This looks at the painting as a whole, not just the faces.

Professor Ugail said: "My AI models look far deeper into a picture than the human eye, comparing detail such as the brush strokes and pigments.

"Testing the Tondo using this new AI model has shown startling results, confirming it is most likely by Raphael.

"Together with my previous work using facial recognition and combined with previous research by my fellow academics, we have concluded the Tondo and the Sistine Madonna are undoubtedly by the same artist.

"Currently, the authenticity of a painting is confirmed by eye, by experts. I believe this technology, using science to analyse art, could be used alongside human experts, leading to easier authentication and greater transparency."

Professor Ugail's AI analysis adds further weight to previous analysis by Professor Howell Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Spectroscopy at the University of Bradford, who found the pigments in the Tondo placed it firmly in the Renaissance period and Professor Christopher Brooke, University of Nottingham, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and historian of ecclesiastical art and architecture.

Timothy Benoy, Honorary Secretary of the de Brécy Trust, said: "It is only fitting that the Tondo's first public display is in Bradford, where cutting edge technologies at the University have been used to determine its attribution.

"We believe the work on the Tondo very forcibly illustrates the increasing value of scientific evidence in the attribution of a painting."

 Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: "We are delighted with the feedback that we’ve received from members of the public to this painting, so it’s great that we have been able to extend its run to allow even more people to view it.”

More information here: bradfordmuseums.org/events/tondo-cartwright-hall/

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