Disappearing RembrandtsJanuary 31, 2013
There are tests we can run on the canvas
to ensure authenticity.
We carbon date hallucinations
from the seventeenth century.
To the master, to the student,
we assign the catalogue.
Without favor, with precision,
like a laser cuts through fog.
Sometimes an unsteady brushstroke,
perhaps an eyelash rendered queer,
or if proportion slips and struggles,
we’ll bring our quiet science to bear.
Seven hundred and fifty imposters
debunked and reclassified,
serve to certify our connoisseurship
as we conquer, and divide.
Baubles bounce on gathered velvet,
they twist and shimmer in the sun.
Where paint’s applied and light’s reflected
the human eye can be undone.
Signature? A tidy little monster.
Competence? A crafty liar.
This one here’s worth sixty million,
fling that one into the fire.
Rembrandt was a wily rascal,
who produced great works of genius
but he had pupils not so clever
and he gave work to Fabritius.
So we unlock the bliss and thunder
with our scholarship and chemicals.
We explode the awe and wonder
of the myth of miracles.