Cataloguing terms of Old masters’ paintings

Cataloguing terms of Old masters’ paintings

When you see some paintings in a museum or maybe on a website of art gallery, you can also notice that not all of them have a confident authorship. Some of them have a description which tell you that this artwork is not exactly painted, for example, by Rogier van der Weyden, but it was made by “Circle of Rogier” or it is “attributed to” this artist. Usually there are 9 levels of cataloguing terms.

1. If only the name of an artist (maybe with his life dates and place of birth and death) is written on the label, this is an original painting by that artist. Whether the object is signed or not;

2. “Attributed to … “ means that it is a work by the hand of the described artist (usually it means that the attribution with proofs of it does exist), although there is a degree of uncertainty as to the authorship.

3. “Studio or workshop …” means that the object was created with influence from the artist or from his absolutely near environment, maybe with parts from the artist himself.

4. “Circle of …” means that this is an artwork by a closely influenced artist from the same period and same style.

5. “School of …” means that the object was executed at the written time and location or from an artist in his influence but from the following generation.

6. “Manner of …” means that the object is in style near to the named artist but is possibly from a later date.

7. “Follower of …” is a work in the style of the described artist but from a later date.

8. “After …” is a later copy of the work of that artist.

9. “Bears signature …” means that the signature is by another hand (faked).

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