has studied linguistics knows that there are 'laws' governing the changes of
words which occur over time. These laws border on the immutable. For
example, our knowledge of modern Coptic allows us to extrapolate the sounds
of made by the ancient Egyptians. Thus we can make a rough guess at the
vocalization of sounds made when reading hieroglyphics aloud.
factors are true when it comes to the fine arts and the inevitable changes
which take place within a single piece. Modern computer wizards have
attempted to write programming which allows us to view the Mona Lisa as it
must have appeared at the time of Leonardo. It certainly didn't look then
like it does now. A small army of scientists and conservators made extensive
studies of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before they ever attempted to
make even the most microscopic restorations of that masterpiece. And despite
all of the contemporary artistic protests this viewer believes that their
efforts have given us back something very close to the original vision of
I am emphasizing the effects of time on artwork and often the degradation of
the original materials is because the vertical diptych displayed on this
page is no exception. Aside from a discussion of the aesthetics of the
oxidation of the orange support columns there is another surprising little
detail which could easily be overlooked by a casual glance. Immediately to
the left of the signature cartouche in the upper panel is a series of four
seals which are almost totally effaced by the effects of time, i.e., the
effects of oxidation.
below makes this perfectly clear.