Monday, August 11, 2008

Van Gogh X-Ray

I know I should talk about the Olympics opening ceremony but I didn’t see much of it. Yes, I am ashamed of myself for not watching. Not to worry, though—my mom caught it on her DVR so I will get to see it. I hope you all enjoyed that display of art and culture.

I did, however, see that amazing Men’s 4X100 Meter Free Style Relay. If you missed it, go watch it. It was a nail-biter!

Okay, let’s get to the art…

As you may know, Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime. His brother, Theo, paid for his housing and food, and his paints and canvases. But van Gogh never had enough canvases for the paintings he wanted to create. Because of this, van Gogh sometimes painted over older paintings when he didn’t have blank canvases.
It was possible to tell which paintings had been created on top of other pictures, but experts hadn’t figured out to see and recreate the older images. Until now. A group of scientists has used a new x-ray method to find a hidden picture behind a Vincent van Gogh painting.

In late-1884 and early-1885, van Gogh painted a series of small portraits which showed the heads of Dutch peasants in their huts. The paintings are very dark, like much of van Gogh’s early work. The scientists found one of these paintings hidden behind a painting van Gogh created in 1887, Patch of Grass.

This is pretty amazing technology. You can see the uncovered image, and read about how the scientists did it, here.

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