Did anyone investigate possibility that it might even have originally been "your fellow subjects"?
Who would described this as one of Picasso's most famous paintings? I certainly wouldn't.
I'm more interested in whether it'd ever be possible to see the colours.
Now that'd be an impressive trick.
...Can anyone think of a use for this tech that doesn't fall under anthropology, IOW an application other than formalised navel-gazing?
(Not that the navel-gazing doesn't have its uses, but occasionally you might get the feeling some folks have lost sight of the whole point of being smart with science...)
It's interesting, but I'm not sure how much it really reveals. Picasso re-used a canvas, which wasn't unusual.
I'm more fascinated by the story of Millet's Angelus, which Salvador Dali was convinced was originally a funeral scene rather than a simple moment of prayer. An X-ray of the painting revealed a small coffin, suggesting Dali may have been right.
I'm not sure whether multispectral imaging can do that or not, but I do know people use x-ray fluorescence imaging to reconstruct color images of ancient artwork and inscriptions. Many pigments are (or were) made using heavy metals you can measure with x-rays, and chisels leave traces of metal in stone tablets.
Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get the strippers and the solvents out, and dig a few test trenches-- see if we can't confirm our geophys results!
They're trying to determine the subject of a Picasso? I guess it's easier than a Rothko... but not a lot easier.
Do you have a link for the X-ray? It's fascinating contemplating why the child would be changed to potatoes.
Unfortunately I don't. There are several reports of it, and it's a story they love to tell at the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, but I can't find any pictures of the X-rayed version.
There's speculation that Millet changed the subject because a painting of a child's funeral wouldn't sell very well.
This blogpost reproduces the X-ray, but it also implies that Dali was not interested in being an entirely "objective" art historian.
You don't say.
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