The Imposed Antiquity or Time that Never Passed over Paintings

Procedures and Techniques of Forgers of Paintings and Drawings in Medieval and Early-Modern Styles

  • Miquel Àngel Herrero-Cortell (Autor/in)
  • Paola Artoni (Autor/in)
  • Valeria Cafà (Autor/in)


This paper delves into the techniques and procedures of forgers in order to analyze their productions. A large variety of methods are implemented: the reuse of original supports, the mixing of original parts with faked parts, and artificial aging of new materials. In sum, these ‘tricks’ consist of many strategies that aim at simulating the passing of time, to fake an object’s history through suggestive yet credible effects of aging on surfaces, which were (and are) achieved physically, chemically, or mechanically. The article focuses on the strategies employed in reusing materials, aging supports, cracking preparations, altering the pictorial films, oxidizing colors and varnishes, and feigning other pathologies such as dirt, wormwood, mold, insect depositions, and even historical restorations, with the intention of deceiving the eye, and ultimately imposing on the artworks a past that they never had. Several cases are considered, including methodological examples of paintings on panel and canvas, as well as graphic works.