Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hidden Treasure: Technique Reveals Buried Image In Famed Illustrator's Painting

Date:
August 24, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers are reporting the use of a new X-ray imaging technique to reveal unprecedented details of a painting hidden beneath another painting by famed American illustrator N.C. Wyeth. The nondestructive technique could reveal new insights into the artist's technique, and potentially reveal hidden images in hundreds of Old Master paintings, the researchers say.

The illustration above is hidden beneath artist N. C. Wyeth's painting "Family Portrait" (below). Researchers are using a new X-ray technique to identify the original details and colors of the "fist-fight" image (above) hidden underneath this "Family Portrait" painting.
Credit: Brandywine River Museum

Scientists report use of a new X-ray imaging technique to reveal for the first time in a century unprecedented details of a painting hidden beneath another painting by famed American illustrator N.C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth. The non-destructive look-beneath-the-surface method could reveal hidden images in hundreds of Old Master paintings and other prized works of art, the researchers say.

Related Articles


The scientists reported the research at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Jennifer Mass, Ph.D., and colleagues note in the new study that many great artists re-used canvases or covered paintings with other paintings. They did this in order to save money on materials or to let the colors and shapes of a prior composition influence the next one, she says. Art historians believe that several of Wyeth's most valued illustrations have been lost from view in that way. Some regard N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) as the greatest American illustrator of the 20th century.

One of these so-called lost illustrations depicts a dramatic fist fight and was published in a 1919 Everybody's Magazine article titled "The Mildest Mannered Man." Using simple X-ray techniques, other scientists previously showed that Wyeth had covered the fight scene with another painting, "Family Portrait." But until now, the fine detail and colors in the fight scene have been lost from view. Nobody has seen the true image except in black and white reproductions.

The new instrument, called a confocal X-ray fluorescence microscope, was developed at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) national X-ray facility. The instrument reveals minute details in hidden paintings without removing paint samples. It shoots X-ray beams into a painting and then collects fluorescent X-ray "signals" given off by the chemicals in the various paint layers. Scientists can link each signal to specific paint pigments. In addition to revealing the original image, the method is providing new information on Wyeth's materials and methods. The same technique may ultimately reveal hidden images in paintings by other famed artists, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Hidden Treasure: Technique Reveals Buried Image In Famed Illustrator's Painting." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819153917.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, August 24). Hidden Treasure: Technique Reveals Buried Image In Famed Illustrator's Painting. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819153917.htm
American Chemical Society. "Hidden Treasure: Technique Reveals Buried Image In Famed Illustrator's Painting." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090819153917.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins