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Underneath the surface of Picasso’s first masterpieces, “The Blue Room,” scientists and art conservators have discovered a hidden image of a man with a bow tie.
While the art experts only released their findings on the painting to The Associated Press last week, research into “The Blue Room” has been going on for years. As early as 1954, there were suspicions about the painting, with a letter written by a conservator mentioning unusual paint strokes, according to The Telegraph.
In order to discover more about what was beneath the surface of “The Blue Room,” infrared technology has been used to better uncover the mystery man. Experts from The Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Winterthur Museum have all been working on the project, and through advanced infrared have discovered more detail in the image behind the picture, showing a man with a bow tie leaning on his hand.
While the identity of this man is still unknown, research is ongoing and experts are currently attempting to identify the colors of the painting beneath the surface using multi-spectral imaging technology and x-ray fluorescence intensity mapping, as reported by The Telegraph. As to the reason that the portrait was covered in the first place, one suggestion is that the covering was simply due to Picasso’s financial constraints.
Art curator Susan Behrends Frank spoke of this reality to The Associated Press, saying, ““When he had an idea, you know, he just had to get it down and realize it. He could not afford to acquire new canvasses every time he had an idea that he wanted to pursue. He worked sometimes on cardboard because canvass was so much more expensive.”
Watch this video about the discovery: