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New Scanning Technique Reveals Secrets Behind Great Paintings ( 26

Researchers in the US have used a new scanning technique to discover a painting underneath one of Pablo Picasso's great works of art, the Crouching Woman (La Misereuse Accroupie). From a report: Underneath the oil painting is a landscape of Barcelona which, it turns out, Picasso used as the basis of his masterpiece. The new x-ray fluorescence system is cheaper than alternative art scanning systems -- and it is portable, making it available to any gallery that wants it. Details were revealed at the American Association for the Advancement for Science in Austin, Texas. The Crouching Woman is a painting from Picasso's blue period.

What is remarkable is that the landscape painting beneath -- probably by a student artist -- is turned 90 degrees. The contour of the hills in the background becomes the crouching woman's back. She takes on the shape and form of the Catalan countryside. Kenneth Brummel, a curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, said that he was "excited" when he first learned what lay underneath the Crouching Woman. "It helps to date the painting and it also helps to determine where the painting was made," he told BBC News. "But it also gives a sense of the artists with whom the painter was engaging. And these insights help us ask new, more interesting and scientifically more accurate questions regarding an artist, their process and how they arrived at the forms that we see on the surface of a painting."

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New Scanning Technique Reveals Secrets Behind Great Paintings

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  • Painting over a crappy painting doesn't mean it was a foundation for the final painting. Paint-overs were common as canvas wasn't exactly cheap and easy to get.
    • The article claims different for this particular painting, however they only show a picture of the final painting and of the x-ray machine in front of the painting. They don't show the x-ray scan of what is underneath, so it is hard to actually prove it by using this article. Unless my ad blocker is somehow hiding it, you would think the article would actually show the x-ray to prove the point.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The xray shows the real work of art...the one which Pablo Picasso maliciously defaced

      • Of course we can never really know the thought process of the artist. But there inevitably are going to be some coincidental shape matches with paint-over. There seems to be a underlying human need to assign deeper meaning or make associations of intent, etc. Often an artist did something because , well, he just felt like it at the time.
      • It's still hard to say if that's the case though. Conceivably Picasso could have chosen from several painted canvases to paint over instead of this particular one. Did he already have his idea in mind when selecting a canvas to paint over such that he chose one that would lend itself most naturally to that endeavor? Or did he choose this canvas at random, allowing what was already there to shape his own creation through some happenstance connection between rolling hills and a woman's hunched back? Perhaps i
      • Re:Paint over (Score:4, Informative)

        by mapinguari ( 110030 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @02:19PM (#56143224)

        Other sources, like this article
        https://news.nationalgeographi... []
        have more images.

      • Welcome to the internet, where we have text stories about spectacular photographs, which we won't include in the article.

      • The 'picture' in the article is not a picture but a movie.
        If you click it, you see the X-ray scan ...

        • Now it is a video, but when I was there earlier it was just a picture of the painting. Since this is how internet news seems to work nowadays, I dunno if they updated it or if the video was sponsored by an ad that of course gets blocked on my end.
    • "Painting over a crappy painting doesn't mean it was a foundation for the final painting. Paint-overs were common as canvas wasn't exactly cheap and easy to get."

      You don't understand, the 'secret' they discovered is that artists are as poor as church mice.
      And now that gizmo is portable on top. So they can discover more poor artists.

  • by dane23 ( 135106 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @01:29PM (#56142856) Homepage
    With the the mentioned x-ray images [].
  • There is a wonderful exhibit currently at the Albuquerque Museum of Natural History showing how multi-spectral analysis was used on the Mona Lisa. There are at least three different layers and the technique allows analysis of pigment/varnish types and their ageing.

    The big news here seems to be not so much the particular Picasso painting analyzed, but that there is a newer technology that is more portable and so will allow more analysis of old paintings.

    I highly recommend the Di Vinci Mona Lisa exhibit to ev

  • i dont feel so bad about photoshopping other peoples work now and saying i made it!
  • by OolimPhon ( 1120895 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @06:28AM (#56146442)

    Well, duh!

    It's a landscape painting turned into a portrait, what did you expect?

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields