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Van Gogh hidden´s picture

Posted by gislena on 31 July 2008

Two European scientists have used a new technique to probe beneath the paint of a work by Vincent van Gogh, recreating an underlying colour portrait of a woman’s face.

Van Gogh's Hidden Picture

Van Gogh's Hidden Picture

In a scientific paper published online Wednesday in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Joris Dik, a materials scientist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and Koen Janssens, a chemist at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, unveiled the method they engineered to recreate hidden paintings.

They used high-intensity X-rays from a particle accelerator and an in-depth knowledge of old pigments to probe beneath Patch of Grass, a small oil study of a field that van Gogh painted in 1887. The painting is part of the van Gogh collection in the Kroller-Muller Museum near the Dutch city of Otterlo.

The underlying image they produced of a woman’s head may be a likeness of the model the painter used in a series of portraits leading up to his 1885 masterpiece, The Potato Eaters.

Teio Meedendorp, an independent van Gogh expert in Amsterdam, told the Associated Press that the underlying painting was probably painted between November 1884 and March 1885.

“I was surprised by the quality of the image, which is really promising for the future of research,” Meedendorp said.

The new method will allow art historians to obtain higher-quality and more detailed images of paintings underlying old masterpieces, providing insights into how the artists worked.

Although his paintings are now worth millions of dollars, van Gogh was virtually unknown during his lifetime and struggled financially before committing suicide in 1890. He often reused canvases, and it’s estimated that one-third of his works were painted on top of existing ones.

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