Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece

Follow a new breed of experts who approach “art mysteries” as if they were crime scenes.

In October 2009, a striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress made world news headlines. Originally sold two years before for around $20,000, the portrait is now thought to be an undiscovered Leonardo da Vinci masterwork worth more than $100 million. How did cutting-edge imaging analysis help tie the portrait to Leonardo?

Nova meets a new breed of experts who are approaching “cold case” art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover “who committed the art,” and follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multi-billion dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.

Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece premieres Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 9pm on WGBH 2.


Art Authentication
See if clever computer algorithms can distinguish a master forgery from a masterpiece.

Art Authentication: Expert Q&A
Computer scientist Eric Postma of Maastricht University answers questions about the digital analysis of paintings.

Art AuthenticationCatching a Copy
See if you can tell a fake from a genuine van Gogh, and hear how one team of computer scientists did it.

Nova airs Wednesday evenings on WGBH 2.

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