Nativity and Last Judgment diptych confirmed as 12th or 13th century masterpiece

December 28th, 2007 - 4:55 pm ICT by admin  

London, December 28 (ANI): Carbon14 dating tests done in Britain and France have confirmed that the exquisite Nativity and Last Judgment diptych is a genuine masterpiece of the 12th or 13th century.

The report debunks the age-old belief that the ivory carving was done in the 18th or 19th centuries, when Gothic-style ivories were made.

The diptych will have its first public display at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London next month.

The artwork, whose previous provenance is unknown, remained part of a private collection throughout the 20th century. In 1924, great scholar Raymond Koechlin published it.

Koechlin thought it too architectural to be medieval, a belief that Professor John Lowden of the Courtauld Institute of Art disapproves.

If you accept as genuine something thats a fake, you distort the historical record. If you reject something that is genuine, that does more damage to historical records. What youre saying, in this case, is that because its so beautifully carved, it cant be medieval, Times Online quoted him as saying.

If it is medieval, we have to change our view of ivory carving. It is really beautiful, extraordinarily detailed and lively. It draws you in to construct a narrative, he added.

The exquisite Nativity and Last Judgment diptych is worth millions at present. Its first public show will be a part of an exhibition drawing on Lord Thomsons magnificent collection formed over more than half a century.

The display will feature about 45 of the finest medieval ivories. They will be at the Courtauld, at Somerset House, from January 10 until March 9. (ANI)

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