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Fakes and Forgeries
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Although fakes and forgeries themselves really need no explanation, there are several areas in art that can be placed in this category. There are disputed "Attributions", such as those painted by the amateur George Constable, who became a friend of John Constable, the artist. Many of George's paintings have become confused with those of John's, and George is believed to have had no small part in keeping the confusion alive. "Replicas", on the other hand, have often been confusing, as well, because artists with large studios, such as Reubens, used many assistants to paint and draw hundreds of sketches. Rembrandt also had many students who imitated their master's style, handling and color.

Another category of paintings is those which have been over-restored and repainted. It is very difficult to determine who was the original artist in these cases. Concerning forgeries, the "Counterproof" method makes some of these works very difficult to determine original authorship. The stroke of a left-handed as compared to a right-handed person may be the only way to tell the original. In some fakes, color can be the determining factor: if a later artist did a fake of an original, he may have used colors that were unavailable during the original artist's lifetime. Many forgeries only last for about fifty years or so, for example, the forgeries of Botticelli done during the Burne-Jones period. Later generations have an easier time distinguishing originals, perhaps because they are more objective.

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