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Hidden Painting Found Under Picasso’s Masterpiece The Blue Room

Scientists found a portrait of a bearded man underneath Picasso’s 1901 painting “The Blue Room.”

1. This is Pablo Picasso’s painting “The Blue Room.” Created in 1901, the piece is one of the his first masterpieces. He painted the image in Paris, during his famous “blue period.”

AP Photo/The Phillips Collection

Picasso focused on painting only in shades of blue and blue-green during his blue period from 1900 to 1904.

2. Scientists and experts from the Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University, and Delaware’s Winterthur Museum have been studying the masterpiece since 2008, the Associated Press reported.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

3. Back in 1954, conservators suspected that there might be another painting below the surface of The Blue Room, because the brushstrokes did not match the composition of the woman depicted in Picasso’s studio.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

4. In the 1990s, an X-ray finally revealed a “fuzzy image” of something under the main image.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

5. Now, art experts at the Phillips Collection in Washington used improved infrared imagery to reveal a bearded man wearing a jacket and bow tie, resting his face on his hand with three rings.

AP Photo/The Phillips Collection

This is the image discovered underneath the original artwork.

6. “It’s really one of those moments that really makes what you do special,” said conservator Patricia Favero.

AP Photo/The Phillips Collection

7. Curator Susan Behrends Frank told the Associated Press that when Picasso “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.”

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

8. Patricia Favero said that the identity of the man is still unknown, but they are working to find out who he was.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The mystery of who this hidden man was is now fueling new research about the 1901 painting.

9. This is not the first time a hidden image has been discovered underneath a Picasso work.

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

Studies of the painting “La Vie” revealed that the artist reworked the composition, and a man was found under “Woman Ironing” at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum.

11. Here are the two images side by side:

AP Photo/The Phillips Collection

AP Photo/The Phillips Collection

 

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