Secret Painting in Rembrandt Masterpiece Coming into View
2013 01 29

By Megan Gannon | Yahoo News

Scientists may be one step closer to revealing a hidden portrait behind a 380-year-old Rembrandt painting.

The masterpiece, "Old Man in Military Costume" by Dutch painter Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn, resides at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Scientists had noticed the painting bears faint traces of another portrait beneath its surface. Researchers had previously probed the painting with infrared, neutron and conventional X-ray methods, but could not see the behind the top coat, largely because Rembrandt used the same paint (with the same chemical composition) for the underpainting and the final version.


Rembrandt’s "Old Man in Military Costume

New studies with more sophisticated X-ray techniques that can parse through the painting’s layers give art historians hope that they may finally get to see who is depicted in the secret image.

"Our experiments demonstrate a possibility of how to reveal much of the hidden picture," Matthias Alfeld from the University of Antwerp said in a statement. "Compared to other techniques, the X-ray investigation we tested is currently the best method to look underneath the original painting."

Alfeld and an international team used macro X-ray fluorescence analysis to examine a mock-up of Rembrandt’s original, created by museum intern Andrea Sartorius, who used paints with the same chemical composition as those used by the Dutch master. Sartorius painted one portrait on the canvas and then an imitation of "Old Man in Military Costume" on top.

When bombarded with these high-energy X-rays, light is absorbed and emitted from different pigments in different ways. The scientists targeted four elements of the paint to fluoresce, including calcium, iron, mercury and lead, and got much better impressions of the hidden painting in the mock-up than they were able to before.




Rembrandt’s "Old Man in Military Costume", portrait painted underneath the final work


"The successful completion of these preliminary investigations on the mock-up painting was an important first step," Karen Trentelman, of the Getty Conservation Institute, said in a statement. "The results of these studies will enable us determine the best possible approach to employ in our planned upcoming study of the real Rembrandt painting."

This isn’t the first time scientists have delved into Rembrandt’s paintings. Previous research revealed why his art possesses such calming beauty, finding the artist may have pioneered a technique that guides the viewer’s gaze around a portrait, creating a special narrative and "calmer" viewing experience. Essentially, the researchers found Rembrandt painted more detail in and around the eyes of his subjects, tapping into an innate human attraction to the face.


Article from: news.yahoo.com







Mysterious snake appears in painting of Queen Elizabeth I









Related Articles
Painting with the dead: Holocaust victims’ ashes used in Swede’s painting
Man Finds His Doppelganger in 16th Century Italian Painting
Surreal Paintings Made with Real Blood
Art restorers accused of ’sanitising’, painting over phallic images in medieval "Tree of Life" fresco
Painting thought to be Vincent van Gogh self-portrait actually his brother Theo
Looters butcher church frescoes in Albania


Latest News from our Front Page

Magaluf bar where British girl was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men is shut down after police investigation into video
2014 07 26
Is this what the youth in Britain and Europe is spending their their energy, money, efforts and innocence on? The young girl, pictured, was lured into performing multiple sex acts after organisers offered a free drink although she thought a holiday was on offer* Council officials launched an official investigation after the video went viral Playhouse bar in Magaluf and entertainment ...
Prejudice is a Form of Common Sense - Hard-Wired Into the Human Brain, Says ASU Study
2014 07 26
Contrary to what most people believe, the tendency to be prejudiced is a form of common sense, hard-wired into the human brain through evolution as an adaptive response to protect our prehistoric ancestors from danger. So suggests a new study published by Arizona State University researchers in the May issue of the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," which contends that, ...
The State is a Bully
2014 07 24
In the history of Western philosophy and social theory, no really silly idea has been more successful than the theory of the social contract. It is in fact not a theory of the social contract. It is a theory of the political contract. It is the idea, promoted by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that, at some point in ...
NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
More News »