However, by not taking seriously into account attempts at establishing the truth about a painting like Rubens' Samson and Delilah and by rubbishing as mad cow hysteria requests to apply a dendrochronology test, he forgets: a) that Rubens' Samson and Delilah has cost the taxpayer a colossal amount of money (pounds 2.5m in 1980); b) that even a cursory look at the relevant literature (references to which were provided by the sellers) raises serious doubts about its authenticity; c) that given the cost and the doubts, it is utterly incomprehensible that the National Gallery bought the painting without, as a matter of course, applying all scientific tests available - including dendrochronology.
As Mr Appleyard surely knows, although the dendrochronology test cannot with absolute certainty establish a painting's authenticity, it can certainly confirm its inauthenticity.
Professor NICOL MOUZELIS
The London School of Economics
and Political Science
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