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This special Web feature from the Metropolitan Museum centers around two fifteenth century paintings acquired by two US museums (the Metropolitan and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) from the Barberini Collection in Rome in the 1930s, that have puzzled scholars for more than a century, and have only recently been identified as the work of Giovanni di Bartolomeo Corradini of Urbino, also known as Fra Carnevale. In addition to investigating the mystery of Fra Carnevale, the Web feature also examines the concepts of artistic identity, in contrast with the Renaissance practice of artworks that issue from the studio of a named artist, that are actually the work of many unnamed artists. To do this, the feature is divided into three sections: "Filippo Lippi", 29 works by Lippi and others trained in his workshop; "An Alternative Vision", seven paintings by artists working within the studio system, but, similar to Fra Carnevale's works, containing unusual elements; and "The Mystery of Fra Carnevale", including the two panels, most likely parts of Fra Carnevale's altarpiece for Santa Maria della Bella in Urbino, The Birth of the Virgin and The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, done in what has come to be recognized as Fra Carnevale's style-paintings so full of architectural details that the figures seem incidental to the architecture.
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