The discovery of a hidden man in a Picasso masterpiece is an exciting find for the art world. Infrared images of Picasso's "The Blue Room" reveal a painting under a painting of a man in a bow-tie resting his head on his hand, according to MSN News on June 17.
"The Blue Room" is one of Picasso's earlier masterpieces and the discovery of this hidden man has spawned a modern-day mystery of "who is he?" Washington's Phillip Collection conservators are working to find the answer to that question. According to Fox News today, this painting was created by Picasso in Paris, France.
This painting was done in 1901 at the start of Picasso's melancholy subjects during a time that is referred to as the artist's "blue period." It has taken the last five years for the experts from the Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Winterthur Museum to develop a clearer image of the mysterious hidden man.
They revealed their findings about the painting underneath the Picasso's "The Blue Room" painting this week. They've released the image above showing the bow-tie wearing man with his head resting on his hand.
Patricia Favero, one of those experts said "It's really one of those moments that really makes what you do special." You can just image being one of a handful of people working on this mystery surrounding one of the world's most famous artist's paintings and how special that would make you feel.
Favero's expertise has given the world a modern-day mystery to solve. Finding out more about the man in this picture is something that she and her colleagues embarked on as soon as they saw the solemn face of this man.
The journey involved in exposing as much as the man's face has been tedious and its taken five years. It was only made possible because of the advances in the infrared technology. This is one of the world's most famous masterpieces and it could not be compromised at all while exploring the layer that revealed the painting hidden underneath.
It was in 2008 that the improved infrared imagery allowed them to see the first images of the man under the Picasso masterpiece. The first image showed the man and his bow-tie leaning on one arm with his head supported by his hand.
It was later during their research that the infrared improvements revealed the man wearing a jacket and three rings. The conservators also used other technology to scan the painting to gain further insights. Experts on Picasso are pretty sure it was the artist's financial situation during the time he painted "The Blue Room" that prompted him to paint over another painting.
It is know that the artist was notorious for grabbing his paintbrush and immediately start painting when an idea came into mind. This coupled with the broke artist not being able to afford new canvases from time to time seems to explain why he most likely reused the canvas that the man's face was painted on.
Some of Picasso's great paintings are painted on pieces of cardboard because he could not afford canvas during this period of his life. The experts are using other technology today to try and map the colors of the painting. They want to use that information to recreate a digital image using the colors as close to the original that Picasso used when he painted this now hidden man.
The director of the Phillips Collection, Dorthy Kosinski, said that solving this mystery and recreating the man hidden under "The Blue Room" is something art lovers are fascinated in. She said:
"Our audiences are hungry for this. It's kind of detective work. It's giving them a doorway of access that I think enriches, maybe adds mystery, while allowing them to be part of a piecing together of a puzzle," she said. "The more we can understand, the greater our appreciation is of its significance in Picasso's life."
It sounds like the world can expect much more in the future from these experts when it comes to Picasso's hidden man. They have discovered the rings, which may help them in their endeavor. Although the bow-tie and the jacket sound very generic, maybe by putting them together with the rings, somewhere in written history might hold the identification of this man painted by Picasso.