Picasso Portrait Of Mystery Man Revealed
A hidden painting has been found beneath one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces, The Blue Room.
Scientists and art experts have used infrared imagery to reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, the Associated Press has reported.
They are now trying to work out who the man is that Picasso covered up in 1901 during his famous blue period.
It has taken a team from The Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Delaware's Winterthur Museum to develop a clear image of the mystery picture.
"It's really one of those moments that really makes what you do special," said Patricia Favero, the conservator at The Phillips Collection.
"The second reaction was, 'well, who is it?' We're still working on answering that question."
Conservators have long suspected there might be something under the surface of The Blue Room.
Brushstrokes on the piece clearly don't match the composition that depicts a woman bathing in Picasso's studio.
A conservator noted the odd brushstrokes in a 1954 letter, but it wasn't until the 1990s that an x-ray of the painting first revealed a fuzzy image of something under the picture. It was not clear, though, that it was a portrait.
Scholars have ruled out the possibility that it was a self-portrait.
One possible figure it could be is the Paris art dealer Ambrose Villard who hosted Picasso's first show in 1901.
But there is no documentation and no clues left on the canvas, so the research continues.
Picasso may have reused his canvasses because they were very expensive at the time and he could not afford a new one every time he tried out a new idea.
Hidden pictures have been found under other important Picasso paintings.
A technical analysis of La Vie at the Cleveland Museum of Art revealed Picasso significantly reworked the painting's composition.
Conservators also found a portrait of a moustached man beneath Picasso's painting Woman Ironing at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.