When the Madonna of the Veil came to light in 1930, the art world celebrated it as a newly discovered work of Botticelli. But doubts began to creep in four years later when Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery, noticed something suspicious about the Renaissance masterpiece. Subsequent tests of the paint revealed it was a forgery, but the big tip-off was that the Madonna looked like a silent movie star. Jean Harlow, to be specific.

Every era has its blind […]