The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, May 25, 2019


Research team uncovers hidden details in Picasso Blue Period painting
X-ray radiography of La Miséreuse accroupie reveals a landscape hidden beneath the visible surface. © Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).


EVANSTON, ILL.- An international partnership of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS), the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, has used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso’s painting “La Miséreuse accroupie” (The Crouching Woman), a major work from the artist’s Blue Period.

The 1902 oil painting, owned by the AGO in Toronto, Canada, depicts a crouching and cloaked woman, painted in white, blues, grays and greens.

With knowledge of an underlying landscape revealed long ago by X-ray radiography at the AGO, researchers used non-invasive portable imaging techniques, including infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging adapted by the National Gallery of Art and then an X-ray fluorescence imaging instrument developed at Northwestern, to detail buried images connected to other works by Picasso -- including a watercolor recently sold at auction -- as well as the presence of a landscape likely by another Barcelona painter underneath “La Miséreuse accroupie.”

“Picasso had no qualms about changing things during the painting process,” Walton said. “Our international team -- consisting of scientists, a curator and a conservator -- has begun to tease apart the complexity of ‘La Miséreuse accroupie,’ uncovering subtle changes made by Picasso as he worked toward his final vision.”

NU-ACCESS members who are studying “La Miséreuse accroupie” are Walton, Casadio and postdoctoral fellows Emeline Pouyet and Gianluca Pastorelli.

The researchers used non-invasive methods they adapted to the study of paintings. The state-of-the-art tools enabled the scientists to analyze the painting relatively quickly inside the museum. The key findings of the multidisciplinary international study include:

• Picasso painted over another painter’s work after rotating it 90 degrees to the right, using some of the landscape forms in his own final composition of “La Miséreuse accroupie.” Picasso incorporated the lines of the cliff edges into the woman’s back, for example.

• Picasso also made a major compositional change, the researchers report. The artist initially painted the woman with a right arm and hand holding a disk but then covered them with her cloak in the final work.

By closely observing “La Miséreuse accroupie,” AGO’s conservation department, now led in this project by senior conservator of paintings Sandra Webster-Cook, had observed distinct textures and contrasting underlying color that peaked through the crack lines and did not match the visible composition. X-ray radiography was the first non-invasive tool used to uncover hidden information in “La Miséreuse accroupie”; it revealed a horizontal landscape by a different Barcelona painter, whose identity remains unknown, under the visible surface of Picasso’s painting.

John Delaney, senior imaging scientist at the National Gallery of Art, then studied the painting with infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging, which records underlying images depending on their relative transparency of the paint layers. He found an arm and a disk under the surface of the painting. Delaney’s imaging method provides improved visibility of earlier compositional painted elements.

For a more detailed understanding of the repositioned arm, NU-ACCESS scientists next investigated the painting using images generated by their X-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanner. The NU-ACCESS team traveled twice to the AGO in Canada with their portable tools for the study.

This system produces grayscale images showing the distribution of elements associated with various pigments of the painting. The scientists were able to analyze 70 percent of the painting in 24 hours. Together with micro-samples extracted from strategic locations, the XRF results, along with further images generated by Delaney from the hyperspectral reflectance, reveal the steps of creation taken by Picasso.

The iron- and chromium-based pigments of the surface layer correlated with the painting’s current structure and its palette of mostly blues (painted with the iron-based Prussian blue and with ultramarine, Picasso’s Blue Period blue of choice) and yellow-greens (painted with chromium-based yellows). The elemental maps of cadmium- and lead-based pigments, however, revealed the presence of the woman’s right arm and hand beneath the visible surface.

The imaging techniques developed by Northwestern and the National Gallery have allowed Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s assistant curator of modern art, to better understand Picasso’s style, influences and process.

“When we saw the rendering of the lead elemental map, it became clear to me that the arm hidden under the visible surface of ‘La Miséreuse accroupie’ is the same as the proper right arm of a crouching woman in a Picasso watercolor recently sold at auction,” Brummel said. The watercolor is titled “Femme assise” (1902).

Images generated by Delaney -- through the selection of different bandwidths in the near infrared -- confirmed the relationship between “La Miséreuse accroupie” and the watercolor.

“After seeing the lead map from the XRF scanning, we were able to make a map of pigment lead white, which, when overlaid with the false color infrared, gives a more complete image of an upstretched arm, sleeve, disk and fingers,” Delaney said.

“We now are able to develop a chronology within the painting structure to tell a story about the artist’s developing style and possible influences,” said Sandra Webster-Cook, AGO’s senior conservator of paintings.

Further details about the collaboration’s research findings and the implications on Picasso’s developing style and influences will be revealed June 1 at the American Institute of Conservation annual meeting in Houston.

Questions raised by this research on Picasso’s influence and style during his Blue Period will be further explored in a Picasso Blue Period exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in 2020 through 2021.





Today's News

February 20, 2018

Research team uncovers hidden details in Picasso Blue Period painting

French, Dutch teams unveil two newly restored Rembrandts

First look at works coming to TEFAF Maastricht 2018

Hauser & Wirth opens first gallery exhibition in Mark Bradford's hometown of Los Angeles in over 15 years

PIASA to offer a unique private collection of decorative art by Sonia Delaunay

Solo exhibition by Carlo Ciussi on view at A arte Invernizzi gallery

Christie's to auction Daniel Craig's Aston Martin sold to benefit the Opportunity Network

Historically important 18th C. American Chippendale-period bureau/desk turns up in UK auction

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers first exhibition featuring ancient Greek art in more than 20 years

Peter Gorschlüter appointed new Director of Museum Folkwang

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma commissions work by Finnish artist Maija Luutonen

The Museum of Russian Icons opens "Rushnyky: Sacred Ukrainian Textiles"

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens presents 'Thomas Hart Benton and the Navy'

The Woodshed saga: One company's journey from picture framing shop to fine art auction powerhouse

Erskine, Hall & Coe to open the first European exhibition of lacquer works by Japanese artist Genta Ishizuka

Lamborghini motorbike and tractors show this luxury marque's diversity at H&H Classics sale

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to Park Avenue Armory March 8-11

Works by Guy Rose, Walt Kuhn and Tiffany Studios among the many stars at Clars February 25 sale

Cheriton Light Festival: Organisers announce 2018 programme

World's best mural artists to showcase their creations at Dubai Canvas

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers announces Atlanta location

Philadelphia Museum of Art presents a broad survey of the art and design of the 1960s

Vivid posters addressing political and social issues on view in exhibition at Davis Museum

Collect 2018: The complete low-down on the biggest showcase in global craft

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Christie's to highlight several private collections in Jewellery sale

2.- Mystery of 'Salvator Mundi', the world's most costly painting

3.- High prices and world records achieved at Old Masters auction

4.- Newly identified Leonardo portrait on show in London

5.- Rare Edouard Cortes painting appears at Rehs Galleries after 114 years

6.- Understanding Jewellery: The definitive jewellery app

7.- Academy Art Museum offers only East Coast Richard Diebenkorn exhibition

8.- Egypt uncovers Old Kingdom cemetery containing colourful wooden coffins

9.- Garry Winogrand: Color is the first exhibition dedicated to the artist's rarely seen color photographs

10.- Sotheby's welcomes visitors to their newly-expanded & reimagined galleries



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful