Other scholars and connoisseurs examined the drawing and agreed with Kemp. They included Nicholas Turner, the former curator of drawings at the Getty Museum, and Alessandro Vezzosi, the director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, outside Florence, who said that he didn’t have “any doubt” that it was authentic. At first, there was little dissent. Generally, connoisseurs are reluctant to repudiate a piece publicly, for fear of being sued by the owners for “product disparagement,” or even for defamation. The threat of litigation has often made the authentication industry a clandestine realm, with connoisseurs who refuse to communicate in writing and with confidential agreements that bind authenticators to silence.
This corner of society fascinates me.