Jun 01, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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A technological breakthrough in the world of art.

Researchers at the Art Gallery of Ontario say they have technologically peeled back layers of compositions embedded in Pablo Picasso’s blue period paintings – to uncover new insights about the artist’s process.

The findings are the product of an international collaboration – that places the AGO among the top museums in the world – when it comes to Picasso studies.

The gallery’s senior painting conservator says sophisticated imaging and analysis of Picasso’s work titled “la Soupe” – revealed that the artist painted over an abandoned outline of a woman.

And in another 1902 painting – scans suggest that Picasso used an underlying landscape painted by another artist – to shape the final composition.

Picasso reused canvases at certain points in his career out of economic necessity… but the research suggests the practice eventually became part of his artistic process.

Revelations from the study will be featured in a 2020-2021 exhibition on Picasso’s blue period co-organized by the AGO and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

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