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Examinations of Works of Arts

Art expertise is the process of studying the presence or absence of the possibility of attributing work to the heritage of one or another author, determining the degree of preservation of the object, the presence or absence of restoration work, determining the artistic level, belonging to a certain period of time and value, etc., that is, it determines the signs by which the expert can answer the question: whether the object under study belongs to cultural values that have historical,  artistic, scientific or ethnographic significance.

The subject of forensic art expertise is factual data relevant to the case and related to the determination of cultural value, material value of an artwork, compliance of its content and ideological direction with the established norms of public morality, which are obtained on the basis of the use of special knowledge in art history, cultural studies, history, sociology, ethics, ethnography and other sciences..

The objects of forensic art expertise are the following:
– works of fine art (painting, sculpture, graphics);
– arts and crafts (professional and folk) art;
– antiques;
– old printed books;
– musical instruments;
– numismatics items;
– faleristics;
– bonistics;
– heraldry vexillology (coats of arms, flags);
– printed matter, audio and video recordings;
– photography, etc.

The main tasks of art expertise are the following:
– Attribution of the work (identification of the author of the work, the period of creation of the work, belonging to a particular school, etc.);
– Determination of the artistic level, historical significance, cultural value and condition of the work;
– Determination of the estimated or insurance value of the work;
– Determination of compliance of printed and video products with the requirements of legislation on the protection of public morality.

Issues resolved during forensic art examinations:
Is the subject submitted for research an original (author’s work), a copy made on behalf of another author, or a copy made on behalf of the author?
Who is the author of the artwork submitted for research?
Was this work of art subject to restoration (what fragment, etc.)?
What is the value of the work of art being researched?
Is the work submitted for research authentic?
Does the subject submitted for research belong to cultural values of artistic, historical, ethnographic, and scientific significance?
Does the provided medium contain works that promote the cult of violence and cruelty?
Is the information contained in the media provided for research pornographic in nature?
Do the items submitted for research belong to pornographic products?
Are there any scenes of a pornographic nature in the work submitted for research (literary, cinematographic, theatrical, entertainment)?
Does the object submitted for research contain images of communist symbols?
Does the object submitted for research contain images of National Socialist (Nazi) symbols?

If the expert is asked about the value of the work, the document on the appointment of the examination (involvement of an expert) must indicate the period (time) during which it is necessary to resolve the question.

Research methods

1. The use of ultraviolet radiation in the study of works of painting.

Image 1. In determining the authenticity of a work of painting, there is a technology for applying the author's signature. In inauthentic works, the paint in the signature flows into the craquelure, which is quite easy to notice when examined in a microscope. In this case, before application, in order to prevent the paint from flowing into the craquelure, varnish is applied at the place of signature application, but a microscopic examination of the signature looks like hanging in space.


2. The use of microscopic methods in the study of works of painting helps determine the time of creation and originality of the signature.


3. One of the important methods of attribution of early printed books is the study by experts of signatures and prints of seals on the pages of the object of study.


4. The use of microscopic methods for studying numismatics and faleristics objects helps in determining the method of manufacturing objects, and, accordingly, their authenticity.