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 Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L

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MensajeTema: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Mar Abr 07, 2015 3:14 pm

Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona Lisa


Al-Masry Al-Youm




A renowned egyptologist has defended the authenticity of an ancient Egyptian painting, the so-called "Meidum Gesse", against suspicions raised by an Italian professor, head of the Italian archaeological mission in Luxor.

Al-Masry Al-Youm had obtained a copy of the research paper prepared Francesco Tiradritti, professor of archaeology at Kore University of Enna, in which he states that the painting, displayed at the Egyptian Museum, is fake.



Tiradritti believes the painting was drawn by Luigi Vassalli, the Egyptologist who discovered the piece at the tomb of Nefermaat in 1871.



Zahi Hawas, former head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, refuted Tiradritti’s claim that the grass-feeding geese depicted in the painting was a species not present in Egypt.



“The geese seen in the painting were discovered in Saqqara, Abusir and Giza”, Hawas wrote in Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Scenes depicting animals in the Delta jungles were common in the tombs from the Old Kingdom and pyramids, until the age of King Saho Raa, the second king of the Fifth Dynasty," he adds.



"The painting’s theme is genuinely Egyptian, with the symmetry and duality best known in Egyptian art”, Hawas said, adding that “the grass eaten by the geese can also bee seen on the walls of other Old Kingdom tombs.”



Hawas argues that Tiradritti should have discussed his conclusions with Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities before making them public.


http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/veteran-egyptologist-defends-authenticity-egyptian-mona-lisa
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MensajeTema: Re: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Mar Abr 07, 2015 3:23 pm

http://m.livescience.com/50309-egyptian-mona-lisa-may-be-fake.html

An ancient Egyptian masterpiece, hailed by some scholars as the "Mona Lisa" of Egyptian painting, is in fact a fake created in the 19th century, a researcher says. But the painting may conceal an authentic Pyramid Age piece underneath.

The "Meidum Geese," as modern-day Egyptologists and art historians call it, was supposedly found in 1871 in a tomb located near the Meidum Pyramid, which was built by the pharaoh Snefru (reign 2610-2590 B.C). The tomb belonged to the pharaoh's son, Nefermaat, and the painting itself was supposedly found in a chapel dedicated to Nefermaat's wife Atet (also spelled Itet). A man named Luigi Vassalli discovered and removed the painting, which is now located in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. [Faux Real: See Photos of Amazing Art Forgeries]

"Some scholars compared it, with due respect, to 'The Gioconda' (Mona Lisa) for the Egyptian art," wrote Francesco Tiradritti, a professor at the Kore University of Enna anddirector of the Italian archaeological mission to Egypt, in a summary of his finds sent to Live Science. The painting's beauty and detail has helped it gain this level of fame.
"Doubting the authenticity of a masterpiece seems almost impossible and it is a mentally painful process," he wrote. "After months of study, I came to the conclusion that there are few doubts on the falsification of the 'Meidum Geese.'"

But while Tiradritti's research suggests the painting is a fake, a real one may be hidden underneath. "The only thing that, in my opinion, still remains to ascertain is what was (or 'is') painted under them. But that can be only established through a noninvasive analysis," Tiradritti wrote.

Tiradritti is set to publish his findings on April 5 in the art specialty papers Giornale dell'Arte and The Art Newspaper, in Italian and English, respectively.He sent Live Science an advance summary of his finds. Tiradritti examined the painting in-person and used high-resolution photographs in his study.

Goosey finds

The first clues that led Tiradritti to doubt the authenticity of the painting came from studying the birds depicted on it. Two of these birds were unlikely to have flown to Egypt.

Painted on plaster, "the painting depicts three different couple[s] of geese, three turned to the left and three to the right," Tiradritti wrote. Two of the geese were labeled as white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons), with the pair looking to the left identified as bean geese (Anser fabalis) and the pair turned to the right as red-breasted geese (Branta ruficolis), he wrote.

The bean goose breeds in tundra and taiga and winters as far south as the north of Spain, Greece and Turkey, he said, while the red-breasted goose breeds in tundra and rarely winters as far south as the Aegean coast of Greece and Turkey.

That species information in itself doesn't prove the painting is a fake, but it made Tiradritti take a more critical look at it. "After that, it was like to see a castle of cards collapsing."

Hints at forgery
Tiradrittithen found many other problems with the painting. For instance some of the colors are unique and were not used by other ancient Egyptian artists. "Some of the hues (especially beige and marc) are unique in the Egyptian art. Even the shades of more common colors, like orange and red, are not even comparable with the same colors used in other fragments of painting coming from Atet's chapel," he wrote.

The way the geese are drawn, so that they appear to be the same size, is also unusual, Tiradritti pointed out. The ancient Egyptians tended to draw different features of a painting, such as animals and people, in different sizes, sometimes relating their size to their importance.

The artist of the "Meidum Geese" went so far as to have two geese leaning over so that the size of all the geese appears to be balanced. "It is a unique characteristic in Egyptian art, but it is a common feature in modern art," Tiradritti wrote.

Even the cracks on the painting don't seem right, as they "are not compatible with the supposed ripping of the painting from the wall," wrote Tiradritti.

The "Meidum Geese" painting also seems to be painted over another painting, parts of which can still be seen. "The background [of the Meidum Geese] is repainted in a blue hue of grey," he wrote. "The original had a more cream shade and it is still visible on some areas of the painting, especially on the right-top corner and at the two sides [of] the red-breasted goose to the right." [Gallery: Images Reveal Paintings Hidden Beneath Others]

Who did it?

If the painting is a fake, and Tiradritti is convinced it is, then the question is who painted it?


Luigi Vassalli, pictured here, is credited with finding and removing the painting from a tomb near the Meidum Pyramid in 1871.


Luigi Vassalli, pictured here, is credited with finding and removing the painting from a tomb near the Meidum Pyramid in 1871. Research suggests Vassalli may have faked the painting.
Credit: Photo courtesy F. Tiradritti

The culprit was likely Vassalli, the person credited with discovering and removing the painting, Tiradritti said. Vassalli was a curator at the Museum Bulaq in Cairo and was an accomplished artist, having studied painting at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, said Tiradritti. [Gotcha! Tales of 8 Famous Art Forgers]

While he is credited with finding and removing the painting, Vassalli never published a word about it, which is unusual given that he loved to talk about his discoveries in Egypt, Tiradritti noted.

"In the manuscripts of Vassalli, there is not [any] mention of the 'Meidum Geese,' and that can be taken as a proof 'ab silentio,' given the fact that he used to mention his exploits even years after he made them. It is highly likely that Vassalli has to be considered the real author of 'the Geese,'" wrote Tiradritti.

A romantic clue

The reason why Vassali forged the painting is a mystery. Tiradritti said the man could have done it because a painting was needed at the Museum Bulaq, or he could have simply done it for fun.

Although Vassali didn't write about the painting, he may have left behind a mark of his work.

While investigating remains from the Atet Chapel, Tiradritti noticed a fragment of painting that Vassalli supposedly found. It was painted with an image of a vulture and a basket. These two signs have meanings in Egypt's hieroglyphic language that spell the initials for Vassalli's second wife Gigliati Angiola.

Tiradritti wrote that the "basket can be read as a 'G,' while the vulture corresponds to an 'A,' giving room to the hypothesis that they have to be interpreted as a monogram."

A big revelation

His finds will be shocking to Egyptologists and art historians, Tiradritti told Live Science in an email. After his work is published, he will be able to get more feedback.

"I already announced it to some of my colleagues, and their first reaction ranged from astonishment to disbelief. At the end, they had to admit that what I am affirming could be likely," he said.

Tiradritti said he hopes that his research will help scholars think more critically about ancient art, especially pieces being sold today on the art market. "I would like to alert my colleagues and invite them to look at the Egyptian art in a different way. We strongly need to revise it."

Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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MensajeTema: Re: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Miér Abr 08, 2015 5:13 am

Es difícil demostrar que son falsas... tiene que argumentar muy bien su tesis
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MensajeTema: Re: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Dom Abr 12, 2015 2:56 pm

By Dr. Basem Gehad, Restoration and Conservation professional at The Grand Egyptian Museum

Recent news questioning the authenticity of the “Meidum Geese” mural painting from the tomb of Atet, the wife of Nefer Maat, is shocking, however, as a painting specialist I can state that such decisions on a piece’s authenticity cannot be made based on an investigation by the naked eye alone.

The wall painting, representing a scene of six wild geese walking on the Nile shore, was discovered in the northern wall of the corridor leading to the chapel in 1871 by Monsieur Vigne, a merchant and amateur archeologist from Alexandria. Vigne had been granted permission by the Egyptian government for an excavation, which was planned to search for an animal necropolis, but instead discovered these unique fourth dynasty tombs.

His work was then continued by Auguste Mariette-Bey, and then Albert Daninos continued the work carefully after him; the chain of custody of work on the site is documented in a letter from Mariette-Bey himself to Daninos Dec. 21 1871, in which he gives instructions about the importance of documenting proper positions of artifacts.

The argument proposed by Prof. Francesco Tiradritti that Luigi Vassalli discovered the tomb is inaccurate; Vassalli began working on the site of the tomb in 1872, a year following its discovery. He had been working as a keeper of antiquities in Boulaq museum ( the predecessor to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo,) and his work had been supervised by Mariette-Bey himself.
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145958/topnews/opinion-more-than-naked-eye-needed-to-rule-on-authenticity-of-meidum-geese


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MensajeTema: Re: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Lun Abr 13, 2015 3:48 am

Controversy over the Meidum Geese

Egyptian archaeologists have rejected allegations that a celebrated ancient Egyptian painting may be a 19th-century fake, reports Nevine El-Aref

Egyptian archaeologists have reacted with anger to claims that the “Meidum Geese” painting, on display in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, is a fake. According to a recent study, the scene was in fact created in the 19th century and painted over a real Pyramid Age painting.

Francesco Tiradritti of Kore University, director of an Italian archaeological mission to Egypt, published his findings in Live Science magazine and suggested that the painting may be a forgery.

The painting was discovered in 1871 by the Italian curator Luigi Vassalli in a chapel dedicated to Princess Atet, the wife of the vizier Nefermaat, the son of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Senefru, inside his mastaba tomb near the Meidum Pyramid in Fayoum.

Vassalli took the painting off the wall and put it on display at the then Bulaq Museum. In 1902, the painting was transported with the rest of the Bulaq Museum collection to the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square where it has remained until today.

The painting depicts three kinds of geese —white-fronted, bean and red-breasted —and is considered to be a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian art.

Although Tiradritti believes that doubting the authenticity of the painting is a painful step, he spent months on its study and used high-resolution photographs as part of his research.

When he realised that the bean and red-breasted geese were unlikely to have been seen in ancient Egypt, being native to Greece and Turkey, he took a more critical look at the painting. He also found that some of the colours in the painting, especially the beige and mauve, were not used by other ancient Egyptian artists.

“Even the shades of more common colours, like orange and red, are not comparable with the same colours used in other fragments of paintings coming from Atet’s chapel,” Tiradritti told Live Science magazine.

He said that the way the geese were drawn, so that they appear to be the same size, was also unusual. The ancient Egyptians drew animals and people in different sizes, sometimes in order to convey their different importance, he said.

Tiradritti said the cracks in the painting “are not compatible with the supposed ripping of the painting from the wall.” He said that in his opinion the geese were actually painted in the 19th century by Vassalli, a trained artist, over a real Pyramid Age painting.

“The only thing that in my opinion still remains to be ascertained is what was, or is, painted under them. But that can be established through non-invasive analysis,” he told Live Science.

The claims have triggered the anger of many Egyptologists who see Tiradritti’s research as being based on visual examination and not on proper scientific research and technical study.

“We cannot prove the painting is a forgery unless state-of-the-art scientific study is used, and this was totally absent from Tiradritti’s research,” Mahmoud Alhalwagi, director of the Egyptian Museum, told the Weekly.

Alhalwagi added that modern scientific technique could also decide the date when the painting was made. Such equipment and techniques are available at the Ministry of Antiquities and the required procedures will now be undertaken to respond to these “lies”, he said.

Islam Ezzat, a restorer at the Egyptian Museum, said that magnetic and free electron equipment could be used to determine the date of the painting without taking a sample from it. “Electron spin resonance is the perfect technique to determine the age of the Meidum Geese painting,” Ezzat said.

“There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the Meidum Geese painting,” Tarek Tawfik, director of the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking the Giza Plateau, told the Weekly, adding that the painting was part of a larger scene inside the mastaba tomb of Nefermaat, who was known for his fondness for innovation.

The scenes were painted using the tempera painting technique, he said, which painted images on gesso before drying. This technique was pioneered by Nefermaat and was often used by ancient Egyptians artists, even though it could lead to cracks after drying.

What proves the authenticity of the painting, Tawfik said, is the fact that the upper limit of the painting bears the remains of the rest of the scene on the wall of the chapel, including the feet of hunters gathering birds, geese, and ducks with nets. Such hunting scenes were common in ancient Egyptian tombs from the Old Kingdom.

In response to Tiradritti’s theory that the geese are not like those found in Egypt at the time, Tawfik said that the area of the Meidum necropolis was located in Fayoum, which is on the birds’ migration path, and that they would have rested in the area during their annual trip from north to south and vice-versa.

“It is probable that the ancient Egyptian artists were inspired by the shapes, colours and sizes of the birds and then drew them in their paintings,” Tawfik said.

“Nefermaat’s mastaba tomb contains rare paintings as its owner was fond of innovations and applied new techniques in the decoration of his tomb,” Tawfik said. He added that Nefermaat decorated his tomb using a technique known as coloured pasti, even though this was not always successful after drying.

“The technique leads to cracking after drying, meaning that the paintings cannot remain perfect for eternity,” he said.

“Tiradritti’s arguments are based on mere speculation about the scene and one of the discoverers of the tomb, Vassalli,” Mohamed Megahed, a researcher at the Czech Institute of Egyptology at Charles University, told the Weekly.

He said that the bean and red-breasted geese depicted in the painting were not absent from ancient Egypt, but on the contrary archaeological excavations of the tombs and chapels of high officials from the Old Kingdom have brought to light the remains of bean geese, proving the existence of this species at the time.

Meanwhile, the red-breasted goose was depicted on wall decorations of the causeway of the pharaoh Sahure at the Abusir Necropolis from the beginning of the Fifth Dynasty onwards, indicating that it lived in or migrated through Egypt at that time.

As for the argument about the colours, Megahed said the same shades have been found in other tombs from the Fourth Dynasty and later from the Old Kingdom. For instance, the orange shade was used in the tomb of Queen Mersyankh III in the eastern cemetery on the Giza Plateau, he said.

Inside the offertory chapel of the queen’s tomb a scene with a procession of geese was represented, he said, and one of them had an orange beak in the same style as one of the Meidum Geese.

Concerning the size of the geese and manner in which they were drawn, something which in Tiradritti’s opinion was unusual, Megahed said that this was another false argument. “Comparing this feature to the cranes and geese depicted in the tomb of Mersyankh III, we can see the birds are the same size in this scene,” Megahed said. He added that it was usual in Old Kingdom tombs for geese depicted in the same scene to be shown the same size.

Tiradritti had claimed that the scene was painted over another painting, which was why the background had different colours in some places, he said. However, no traces of the supposed older scene can be seen, Megahed said, and Triadritti had not said what kind of scene the older one could be. A difference in background colour might also have been the result of older restoration.

“Not mentioning anything about the scene does not mean that Vassalli faked the Meidum Geese painting, as Tiradritti claims,” Megahed told the Weekly, adding that notes of the discovery had also been kept by Vassalli’s colleagues.

According to Albert Daninos, the deputy of Egyptologist Auguste Mariette at the time, Vassalli had moved the Meidum Geese painting from the tomb’s corridor “with marvelous patience and care.” Petrie, another contemporary who was not an admirer of his colleagues, claimed that Vassalli had “hacked away much of the fresco” to remove the painting.

It is known from Mariette’s records of the Meidum excavation in 1871 that the work was not always carefully done, since much of his attention was given to the mastaba of Rehotep and Nefret where he found the two famous statues of the owners of the tomb that are today in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Tiradritti also mentioned another painting, which in his view could have been done by Vassalli. This is a fragment depicting the remains of two hieroglyphic letters, a basket with a handle that represents the hieroglyph K and a vulture that represents the hieroglyph A. Tiradritti said that these two signs were intended as a reference to Vassalli’s second wife Gigliati Angiola.

However, Megahed said that if the context of the tomb was studied it would be clear that these two signs were perhaps the remains of the names of Nefermaat and Atet’s son Serfka. The names appear in the tomb a number of times.

“Moreover, the scene of the Meidum Geese and the hieroglyphs come from the north wall of the east corridor inside the chapel of Atet, where a large figure of Serfka was depicted standing and catching birds amid an agricultural scene,” Megahed said.

It should also not be forgotten that when Vassalli removed the painting of the Meidum Geese from the north wall of the corridor, he cut into the scenes above and below the painting to make sure that the geese would not be damaged during this process, he said.

Therefore, traces of feet, a hand and the top of a hieroglyph were preserved on the outside edges of the panel. “The rest of the wall decoration was affected by this action,” he said.

Megahed said that the tomb of Nefermaat, the son of the pharaoh Huni and his wife Atet, was the largest known tomb from the Old Kingdom, and Nefermaat was the earliest known Egyptian vizier to be attested.

As a result, scholars should be careful about doubting one of the most beautiful ancient Egyptian works of art and should take into consideration the wider context of the scene and its discovery, in order to do more than simply feed speculation, he said.

“We should not think about doing more studies to accept or refute the ideas of the Italian researcher because this way we would open the door to discrediting the great civilisation of ancient Egypt,” Megahed concluded.

Former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawss described Tiradritti’s claims as “unfounded,” accusing him of breaking the antiquities law and the ministry’s regulations which stipulate that any new discovery or research should first be presented to the ministry and its permanent committee for approval before being published. Tiradritti published his theory in Live Science without doing this, he said.

“He must be penalised for not following the rules, and the permanent committee could now stop his mission from resuming its archaeological work in Luxor,” Hawass said, who added that during his tenure as minister he had taken action against several foreign missions for breaking the ministry’s regulations.
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/10942/47/Controversy-over-the-Meidum-Geese.aspx
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MensajeTema: Re: Veteran Egyptologist defends authenticity of Egyptian Mona L   Lun Abr 13, 2015 3:48 am

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