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A painting assumed to be an imitation of one of Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s most famous works has been revealed to be an original from Botticelli’s own studio, according to the conservation charity English Heritage.

The work is a copy of Botticelli’s Madonna of the Pomegranate, which was painted around 1487 and is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. The copy was previously believed to be a fake from a later era because a thick layer of yellow varnish over the canvas had obscured the work’s true quality for more than a century.

Conservators discovered the true origins while the painting was being cleaned. After X-ray testing, pigment analysis and infrared studies of the artwork, they concluded that the painting was, in fact, created in Botticelli’s own workshop.

In the 15th century, Botticelli hired a number of assistants at his workshop in Florence, Italy, to help him meet the popular demand for his paintings. Art collectors and painters would often request copies of his popular works, hence why this “copy” can be considered an original Botticelli.




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