'Goya masterpiece' was painted by his student

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El Coloso, a painting of a giant striding through clouds above a valley of people and their animals fleeing in terror, was in fact most likely executed by Goya's chief apprentice Asensio Julia, the museum disclosed on Monday.

Experts at the museum revealed their findings after an exhaustive study of the work that began last summer amid criticism that the painting was of a lesser standard than Goya's other works.

After a close analysis of the style, techniques and composition of the "The Colossus" researchers remarked on "the poverty of the technique, light and colours" when compared to other authentic Goya pieces.

"There is a marked difference between it and other masterpieces attributed to Goya," said Manuela Mena Marques, a chief curator at the museum, in a statement on Monday.

And she named Asensio Julia as the most likely author after discovering the initials "AJ" in the bottom left-hand corner of the painting.

"The painting arrived at the Prado in 1931 and w as accepted and admired as modern Goya piece. At this time however, studies on the artist had only just begun and knowledge of his assistants and imitators was still flimsy," the experts said on the Internet site...

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