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However, results on the canvas alone may be inconclusive, as canvas may have been reused by the artist himself as an economic measure or intentionally by a forger with the intent to deceive.The infamous Han Van Meegeren (1889–1947), who specialized in forging Vermeer paintings, is known to have scraped the paint off of older paintings to reuse the canvases to yield the illusion of a naturally aged painting substrate (16, 17).
Thus, the art of deceiving by acquiring an older support is a common modus operandi among forgers to avoid anachronistic features and was already common practice before the development of C dating.Thus the additional dating of the paint reveals the forger’s scheme where the repainting of an appropriately aged canvas was used to convey the illusion of authenticity.Art forgeries have existed since antiquity, but with the recent rapidly expanding commercialization of art, the approach to art authentication has demanded increasingly sophisticated detection schemes.The method, however, is invasive and in its early days required sampling tens of grams of material.With the advent of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and further development of gas ion sources (GIS), a reduction of sample size down to microgram amounts of carbon became possible, opening the possibility to date individual paint layers in artworks.
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With the advent of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) (2, 3), the amount of carbon necessary for obtaining a radiocarbon date was significantly reduced from a few grams down to 1 milligram carbon (4).