Paintings expert Bendor Grosvenor has been perusing our new online National Trust Collections database (which I first posted about here), testing his eye on various ‘school of’ and ‘attributed to’ portraits. He has reported his hunches on his Art History News blog.
For instance, he thinks that this portrait of a lady at Petworth, attributed to Van Dyck, really is by the artist himself, done in the mid 1620s in Italy.
This kind of response is really encouraging. It means people are now starting to use the National Trust Collections site for research and comparison. The site itself (and the National Trust’s curatorial records) will also benefit from these responses, as more information comes to light and opinions are exchanged.
Once again we see the potential of crowd sourcing – which, in the slightly rarified area of old master paintings expertise, should perhaps be called in-crowd sourcing (but an in-crowd accessible to all).
As it happens, the Economist newspaper featured an article in its most recent issue about a related development in a ‘parallel universe’ to art history: the effect of blogging and social media in spreading ideas and discussions from the academic world of economics into the wider business and policy environment.
So do have a look yourself on National Trust Collections, search for objects that fall within your professional expertise or private obsession, and let me know if you, too, can spot any ‘sleepers’.