, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 509–530 | Cite as

An argumentation model of forensic evidence in fine art attribution



In this paper, a case study is conducted to test the capability of the Carneades Argumentation System to model the argumentation in a case where forensic evidence was collected in an investigation triggered by a conflict among art experts on the attribution of a painting to Leonardo da Vinci. A claim that a portrait of a young woman in a Renaissance dress could be attributed to da Vinci was initially dismissed by art experts. Forensic investigations were carried out, and evidence was collected by art history experts and scientific experts. The expert opinions were initially in conflict, but new evidence shifted the burden of proof onto the side of the skeptics. This paper presents an analysis of the structure of the interlocking argumentation in the case using argument mapping tools to track the accumulation of evidence pro and con.


The Carneades Argumentation System Argument from expert opinion Fraudulent art Evidential reasoning Inquiry dialogue Burden of proof Leonardo da Vinci 



This research was supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant 435-2012-0104 on the Carneades Argumentation System. My collaborator on the grant, Tom Gordon, has contributed to the research in the paper in many ways. I would also like to thank Bob Pinto, Phil Rose, and Chris Tindale for helpful comments and discussions when this paper was presented at a meeting in September 2012 of the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation, and Rhetoric.


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© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric (CRRAR)University of WindsorWindsorCanada

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