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Pioneers in Digital Research and Attributions

"...their finest pictures were wrestled from their rightful names generations ago, certified by some expert, and then sold to a wealthy collector as a Rubens."

The Rubens Research Committee is sponsored by Veritus, but operates and publishes its findings with autonomy. The committee is dedicated to the discovery of the true identity of the artists who were the creators of the paintings now attributed to Sir Peter Paul Rubens. To this end, the Rubens Research Committee uses the latest in twenty-first century technology and forensic investigative methods. Through the use of modern technology, the Committee is able solve mysteries and to discover centuries old misattributions. Complete Catalogue Raisonnés in both traditional print media and DVD's will be made available in the future.
    The fundamental problem addressed by this Committee is the authorship of paintings attributed to the hand of Peter Paul Rubens. Unfortunately, the actual authorship of these paintings was lost in a veritable blizzard of attributions to Rubens. In all fairness, Rubens has not been alone in this snowstorm of misattribution. Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya and Sir Anthony Van Dyck share the same fate. The Rembrandt Research Committee has recently completed its catalogue, and the results may be viewed at the Rembrandt Committee site.
    It was apparent from the beginning of this study that the number of paintings attributed to Rubens is not logically possible. This observation is easy to confirm. One only needs to examine the body of works from other successful but less monetarily valuable artists of the same period. The bodies of works attributed to these artists rarely reaches one hundred pictures. More often, the number is much less than fifty. Many students of Rubens painted for more than thirty years; yet, they have less than ten pictures attributed to their names. This lack of paintings attributable to the followers of Rubens is founded in simple truth. Few paintings remain to their credit because most of their finest pictures were wrestled from their rightful names generations ago, certified by some "expert," and then sold to a wealthy collector as a Rubens.
    Sadly, these incorrect attributions are a great disservice to everyone. It is not fair to Rubens to hold him responsible for the paintings of his followers, whether the paintings be good, bad or indifferent. Such attributions take away from the genius of Rubens. Concurrently, it is not fair to his pupils and followers to have their very best works taken away and attributed to Rubens.
    It was obvious to the Committee that a new method and philosophy for examining authorship was necessary. The Committee was determined not to repeat the errors of those that came before us. It was crucial to develop a new method for attribution based on twenty-first century technology. It was imperative that attribution should not be dependent upon subjective opinions or dubious circumstantial evidence.
    Research is presently being conducted into the paintings of Rubens. There is much work yet to be done before we are prepared to release our findings. However, our examination to date has shown that approximately ninety percent of the paintings published as works of Rubens are by the hands of other artists. The Catalogue Raisonné for Rubens should be online in 1998.
    The Rubens Research Committee extends its gratitude to both Veritus and its sponsors for their kind assistance in this project. The costs of research, computer time, technology applications and publishing of this site have been made possible by a grant from Veritus.

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