A «Festschrift» in Honor of Professor Edward J. Olszewski
Edited By Jennifer H. Finkel, Michael D. Morford and Dena M. Woodall
Unvarnished Reflections: Giorgione’s Portrait of a Man (Terris Portrait) in the San Diego Museum of Art, the Quest for Cultural Authority, and the Ethics of Authenticity in American Museums HOLLY WITCHEY 165
Holly Witchey Unvarnished Reflections: Giorgione's Portrait of a Man (Terris Portrait) in the San Diego Museum of Art, the Quest for Cultural Authority, and the Ethics of Authenticity in American Museums If you want to know the truth, use science. As long as people go to a museum and pay for the experience– they are entitled to the truth. Maurizio Seracini As the title suggests, this essay is not a traditional analysis of a painting but rather a hybrid. It is part case study and part thought paper about a paint- ing, an artist, art history, the academic study of art history, contemporary museum practice in the United States, science, and technology. In the permanent collection of the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) is a small panel painting (fig. 1) attributed to the Venetian artist Giorgio da Castelfranco, known as Giorgione (1477/8–1510).1 Unambiguously titled Portrait of a Man,2 it is without question a lovely portrait. Painted in oil on a thin poplar panel (approximately 1/8 inches thick), the portrait is relatively small in size. Measuring 11 ¾ by 10 ½ inches, it is not a great deal larger than a single sheet of notebook paper.3 For the better part of a decade (1991- 1998) this portrait was my direct responsibility in the capacity of Associate Curator of European Art at the San Diego Museum of Art. In 1993, with the ink on my own dissertation barely dry, I confidently confirmed the San Diego Museum of Art’s Portrait of...
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