Painting recently discovered to be by Renaissance master Raphael on display in Yorkshire

A painting recently discovered to be by Renaissance master Raphael has gone on display for the first time at a Bradford gallery.

For over four decades art experts have suspected that the de Brécy Tondo has been a work by Raphael due to its resemblance to Sistine Madonna – another work by the acclaimed artist.

However, there had been not definitive proof.

Recent analysis by the University of Bradford using artificial intelligence-assisted computer-based facial recognition showed the faces in the paintings are identical to those in Raphael’s famous altarpiece, seemingly confirming that it is a previously unidentified work by Raphael.

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Raphael Professor Hassan UgailRaphael Professor Hassan Ugail
Raphael Professor Hassan Ugail

This week the artwork was unveiled at Cartwright Hall in Lister Park – its fist public display since the identification.

The de Brécy Trust said it was “only fitting” that the first display of the painting should be in Bradford, due to the city’s role in identifying the work.

The Madonna and child painting will be on show at the gallery for the next two months, alongside details of how technology was used to identify the piece as a Raphael.

Professor Hassan Ugail, Director of the Centre of Visual Computing at the University of Bradford, was behind the technology that identified the work as a Raphael.

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He was one of the guest at the official unveiling of the painting on Wednesday afternoon, along with other University representatives.

Prof Ugail has also developed a new AI model to recognise paintings by Old Masters.

This looks at the painting as a whole, not just the faces.

Referring to the process, Professor Ugail said: “My AI models look far deeper into a picture than the human eye, comparing detail such as the brush strokes and pigments.

“Testing the Tondo using this new AI model has shown startling results, confirming it is most likely by Raphael.

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“Together with my previous work using facial recognition and combined with previous research by my fellow academics, we have concluded the Tondo and the Sistine Madonna are undoubtedly by the same artist.

“Currently, the authenticity of a painting is confirmed by eye, by experts. I believe this technology, using science to analyse art, could be used alongside human experts, leading to easier authentication and greater transparency.”

Cartwright Hall, in the centre of Lister Park, is a Bradford Council run gallery. It is also home to a gallery devoted to the life and work of Bradford artist David Hockney.