Dendrochronology cannot tell us who painted the panel, or even when the panel was used, but under certain conditions it can tell us where the tree grew, approximately when the tree was cut, and when the prepared
3Dr. Klein informs me that this textbook example is flawed since almost all the published sapwood estimates apply to average ring counts for the majority of samples rather than to the extremes for individual trees, and he finds greater variability in Western Europe. A final heartwood ring of 1651 plus a minimum of 7 sapwood rings for Western European oak = 1658, plus a minimum drying time of 2 years = 1660. A final heartwood ring of 1651 plus a minimum of 9 sapwood rings for Baltic oak = 1660, plus a minimum drying time of 2 years = 1662. Both dates are therefore within Rembrandt's lifetime. Moral #1: Beware of averages. Moral #2: Beware of textbook examples. Moral #3: Never accept a fee for providing dendrochronological information.
Fig. L.5a. "Christ Appearing to His Mother," from Rogier van der Weyden's St. Mary (Miraflo-res) Altar in Berlin-Dahlem, long thought to be a copy but now demonstrably within Rogier's lifetime.
Fig. L.5b. The Metropolitan Museum's "Christ Appearing to His Mother," dendro-chronologically dated to at least twenty years after Rogier's death.
panel could have been ready for use. It also can tell us about the preferences of certain painters for their supports. If a painter paints only on oak panels, and suddenly a poplar panel appears, allegedly painted by him, one might have immediate grounds for suspicion as to the panel's authenticity.4
4The Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Malcolm H. Wiener Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Samuel B. Kress Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and individual patrons of the Aegean Dendrochronology Project.
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A. Color 218
B. Artists' Pigments, Materials, and Methods 219
C. Scientific Analysis and Examination 220
D. Dating and Archaeometry 221
F. Art in the Making (National Gallery) 221
G. Application of Science in Examination of Works of Art 222
H. Archaeological Chemistry 222
I. Materials Research Society 223
J. Detection of Fakes in Painting, References to Chapter 8 223
K. Radiocarbon Dating in Art Research 224
L. Dendrochronology (Tree-Ring Dating) of Panel Paintings 225
M. Electrons, The Periodic Table and X-rays 226
N. Organic Binders: Analytical Procedures 227
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