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Secret Picasso Sketch Found Hidden Under Famous Painting

Amelia Ward

| Last updated 

Secret Picasso Sketch Found Hidden Under Famous Painting

A new Picasso sketch has been discovered hidden underneath one of his most famous pieces of work.

Experts used x-ray scans to look at wrinkles they had noticed on the canvas, but nobody was prepared for what they were about to find.

The drawing portrays a pitcher, a cup and what appears to be a newspaper resting on a chair, all scrawled on the back of the canvas used for his famed 1922 piece 'Still Life'.

Still Life. Credit: Art Institute of Chicago
Still Life. Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

The Spanish artist used to reuse canvasses by painting over drawings that he had discarded. In his lifetime, he created over 50,000 pieces of art and has gone down as one of the greatest artists of all time

And after the new drawing was discovered, researchers at the Art Institute of Chicago - where 'Still Life' hangs - described the finding as 'unusual'.

According to Live Science, the drawing was erased using a layer of white paint, before he began the final abstract masterpiece - one that is recognisable to so many.

The hidden drawing. Credit: Art Institute of Chicago
The hidden drawing. Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

The new sketch was only uncovered when scientists used the high-tech scanning system to properly analyse the painting, once the wrinkles that had been noticed on the canvas were investigated.

According to research published in the journal SN Applied Sciences, 'X-ray and infrared imaging revealed that Picasso had originally painted a neo-classical still life on the canvas'.

It added: "The scene was likely influenced by the interiors of Picasso's home and studio at 23, rue la Boétie in Paris, which provided subject matter for many of his paintings and drawings.

"He applied a lead-white-based priming layer over the first composition before painting the linear abstract 'Still Life' dated February 4, 1922."

Pablo Picasso. Credit: PA
Pablo Picasso. Credit: PA

The team - Allison Langley, Kimberley Muir and Ken Sutherland - went on to discover the thick layer of white paint.

Writing in the paper, the team said: "This seems somewhat unusual in Picasso's practice, as he often painted directly over earlier compositions, allowing underlying forms to show through and influence the final painting."

And not only did they find the hidden drawing, they also discovered some early attempts that were made at conservation and restoration.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

It was found that an acrylic resin and a paint put into cracks on the surface were used. This method helped modern-day conservation techniques, with researchers able to remove this resin, as well as the paint in the cracks, which then revealed the painting's original colours in all their glory.

Pablo Picasso died aged 91 in France having made his name known as one of the most prolific and most talented figures in 20th century art.

Featured Image Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

Topics: Art, US News

Amelia Ward
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