While they were working on a restoration of one of the paintings by Pablo Picasso, the experts of the Art Institute of Chicago they shed light on a hidden drawing by the artist. The painting in question is “Still Life” dating back to February 4, 1922. The experts, performing the X-ray and infrared imaging of the work of art, were speechless.
“X-ray and infrared imaging, as well as cross-sectional paint analysis, revealed details about the design and completion level of the first still life painted on the front of the canvas, which was then covered with a layer of white paint before Picasso painted the cubist still lifea, “Allison Langley, head of the Paint Preservation Section, told IFL Science.
It was found a neoclassical still life – oriented 90 degrees from the original image – which depicted a jug, a cup, a rectangular object, similar to a newspaper, and another obscured circular shape, according to what experts said in their study published in SN Applied Sciences. “The scene was set up on a table, or perhaps a flat surface balanced on the seat of a chair“.
Picasso has often reused his canvases and this discovery brings nothing new. “What is surprising is that he covered the first composition with a layer of white paint. This is unusual in his practice, as he typically painted directly over the previous layers of paint, often retaining traces of the original shapes or colors in the final paint“, continues Langley. In the case of Still Life in 1922, on the surface there was no evidence of the previous composition.
The Spanish painter between 1921 and 1922 he worked simultaneously in two contrasting styles, creating a series of linear Cubist still lifes and also painting neoclassical figures and still lifes. Picasso, most likely “could not find a playful or artistic alignment of the curvilinear forms of the early still life and the hard edges of the final abstract composition, in this case“, thus deciding to cover everything and start again from scratch.