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Label: hidden painting

Wednesday 04th June 2014The Hidden Works

Photo Credit: APIf you're a painter, you might have been here before: you're working on a canvas, nearly finished executing your vision, and suddenly you get frustrated and decide to scrap the project. Or maybe you've suddenly come up with a brilliant painting but you're all out of prepped canvases, and you need to start work immediately to preserve the clarity of your idea. Whatever the reason, the only way to get yourself a new working space is to paint over something you've already done. It's probably happened to you at least once in your artistic career, and if not, then you should consider yourself lucky! But what happens when you turn out to be one of the most famous painters of the previous century? Gallery and museums will bring out the forensic toolkit!

This is exactly what happened recently with one of the first well-known pieces by Pablo Picasso, the patron saint of Cubism, one of the most famous artists from the 20th century. One of his first pieces to be considered a masterpiece, the 1901 painting 'The Blue Room' signalled the beginning of his famous (to Picasso fans, at least) 'Blue Period', a 3 year stretch marked by a certain melancholia. Art experts had long been puzzled by some inconsistencies in the brush strokes found in the painting, strokes that didn't match what the surface painting appeared to show. As far back as 1954, one expert had noticed these discrepancies, but it wasn't until the mid 1990s that the art world got around to bringing in some sophisticated technology - the X-ray.

Not typically used on paintings, x-rays of 'The Blue Room' showed that there was indeed something painted beneath the surface, although x-rays weren't sufficient to provide a clear image of what, if anything, the underlying elements were. Thanks to recent advances in forensic technologies, however, experts have finally been able to get a glimpse of the painting Picasso didn't want to keep. An infrared camera has shown that the painting beneath The Blue Room is in fact a portrait of a man in a bow tie that appears nearly completed. No mention of his reasons for abandoning the portrait have been found, but one can only wonder what other famous artists may have chosen to discard before they realized that they were to become the pivotal artists of their age. It almost makes one start to conjure up visions of The Da Vinci Code, with secret messages hidden beneath renaissance masterworks!

Posted on June 04th 2014 on 02:57pm
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