Artwatch’s Michael Daley weighs in on the Bendor Grosvenor “ Raphael” affair reported a few weeks ago. MD puts it in the context of the misattribution trend of recent years which has included the so-called Raphael “Madonna of the Pinks” shown here next to the Haddon picture in AW’s collage. MD writes:
“Against the fragmentary picture’s distinctly weak provenance, it was claimed (- but not demonstrated) that a close fit existed with secure Raphael Madonnas. The belief that this work might be an autograph Raphael received high level scholarly and (implicit) institutional endorsement as Bendor Grosvenor is filmed ascending the grand stairs of the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing in the company of the Gallery’s former director, Sir Nicholas Penny. The camera catches the pair passing the monumental carved Roman Letters “RAPHAEL” [see Fig. 5, below] and jumps in a nanosecond to a painting in the Gallery’s substantial Raphael holdings – but not to one its finest, instead to the least secure, most recent, so-called Madonna of the Pinks that had been attributed to Raphael in 1992 by Nicholas Penny when a curator at the Gallery, and that was later bought by the Gallery for nearly £35millon after a public appeal. Towards the end of the film Nicholas Penny places the putative Grosvenor-Raphael, somewhere between “probably by Raphael” and “by Raphael” and suggests that with a little “more time and courage” he might well go the whole hog.”
All I will say here is that using a dubiously attributed Raphael (the Madonna of the Pinks) to bolster another dodgy attribution is desperate to say the least!!!