Artist: Pablo Picasso

Scientific Test: Infrared study

Pablo Picasso

In 2014 art scholars and scientists performed infrared testing on Picasso’s 1901 painting “The Blue Room.” The painting has been part of the Phillips Collection since 1927. Conservators suspected for some time that there was additional imagery beneath the surface. Infrared images were able to clearly reveal a portrait of a man wearing a bowtie. The hidden image is drastically different from the interior bedroom scene, visible on the surface. Since making the discovery, scientists have continued to perform additional tests. Picasso, like many of his peers, would paint over existing canvases to save money since art materials were expensive, especially for young artists.

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