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During the classical period art was generally created for historical reference, religious inspiration, or simply aesthetic enjoyment.

Roman sculptors produced copies of Greek sculptures.

Presumably the contemporary buyers knew that they were not genuine.

Farid’s team took a huge, high-resolution photograph of a painting by Perugino—best known for his Sistine Chapel frescoes.

Starting with an 8-by-10-inch nagative, the photograph was digitized into 16,852 by 18,204 pixels, divided into sectors, and run through a series of filters and algorithms.

With the help of its software, Farid’s group then concluded what many art historians had long suspected: one artist—presumably Perugino—painted the Madonna and one canonized pair, while three other artists—presumably Perugino’s understudies—composed the remaining faces.

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