The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance.The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period.The details - the direction of the flow of blood from the wounds, the placement of the nails through the wrists rather than the palms - displays a knowledge of crucifixion that seems too accurate to have been that of a medieval artist.
But a series of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s spiked this normally consistent ratio.
"After 1955 the level of radiocarbon in the atmosphere, and thus in living organisms, almost doubled in about 10 years," Pier Andrea Mandò, head of the Florence division of the INFN, explained in a statement.
The works had recast the artist as an enfant terrible for his anti-authoritarian and anti-popularist views on art.
He wrote, "If you can not please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few".
Now scientists have confirmed that the artwork is a indeed forgery; in a first, they detected faint signatures of Cold War-era nuclear bombs in the canvas that reveal the painting was created after Léger's death.
The influential American art patron Peggy Guggenheim bought the painting, believing it to be part of Léger's "Contraste de Formes" (Contrasts of Forms), an abstract series created between 19 that breaks up figures into schematic units.
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