Copy in the Manner of
Peter Paul Rubens


Publishes June 2024
Extent:  212 pages
Trim: 13 x 23 cm
Price: £20 / £10 (ebook)


Long-held doubts about the authenticity of the National Gallery’s masterpiece, bought for £2.5m in 1980, are backed by pioneering technology.

––The Observer

The painting bought by the gallery for a staggering sum in 1980 is not by Rubens.

––Waldemar Januszczak, The Sunday Times

It has all the ingredients of a delicious art mystery; involving one of the world’s most valuable paintings, the reputation of an old master, and claims of a cover-up at the National Gallery.

––Jeevan Vasagar, The Guardian


In July 1980 London’s National Gallery paid a record sum for a canvas that purported to be Peter Paul Rubens’s Samson and Delilah (1609). But as the artist and art historian Euphrosyne Doxiadis has long maintained, the painting is not the work of Rubens at all, but rather a copy of his original. Notwithstanding the formidable body of historical and stylistic evidence that supports Doxiadis’s assessment, the National Gallery has not only continued to defend its attribution of the canvas to Rubens, but it has also refused to allow a thorough, independent analysis of the painting’s material structure.

In NG6461: Copy in the Manner of Peter Paul Rubens, Doxiadis gives a riveting account of her own investigations, and of her efforts—often in the face of hostility and ridicule—to convince the British art establishment of the truth about Samson and Delilah. But the implications of this case extend well beyond the authorship of a single painting. At a time when major galleries in continental Europe and the United States are opening themselves up to innovative research methods and to a broader spirit of open-minded enquiry, some of the most influential figures in Britain’s cultural life are insulating themselves from these trends—very often prioritising face-saving and the maintenance of opaque social networks over the legitimate interests of the art-loving, and tax-paying, public. NG6461: Copy in the Manner of Peter Paul Rubens is an unforgettable account of what has gone wrong in the art world.


Over the years, several critics have questioned the Rubens attribution for the museum’s Samson and Delilah, including artist and independent scholar Euphrosyne Doxiadis who has claimed in several papers and interviews that certain details didn’t add up. […] The recent discovery using AI technology is just another strike against the piece.


The dispute over [the painting’s] authorship pits […] Euphrosyne Doxiades and her supporters—unassuming Davids in a story about an artist whose subjects were often drawn from history and myth—against the Goliath of one of the world’s most venerated art repositories.

––Edward M. Gomez, Der Spiegel