Hidden Painting Emerges Underneath Picasso’s Painting “The Blue Room”

NPR reports that a hidden painting has emerged by famed painter Pablo Picasso. Thanks to the use of infrared technology, the hidden painting has been discovered underneath Picasso’s “The Blue Room”, an original piece that is on display as part of the Phillips Collection in Washington.

“The Blue Room”, which was painted in 1901, is reportedly a painting of Picasso’s studio and in the picture an unidentified woman is bathing herself in front of the window. However, underneath the painting an entirely different scene unfolds. Researchers and curators recently released a picture of the hidden painting which depicts a man wearing a suit and a bow tie with his head propped in his hands.

A Phillips conservator, Patricia Favero told the Associated Press:

“It’s really one of those moments that really makes what you do special. The second reaction was, ‘Well, who is it?’ We’re still working on answering that question.”

While the researchers are working to uncover who is in the painting, stipulations for why Picasso reused the canvas have arisen. It’s likely that Picasso frequently painted over used canvasses as a means of necessity considering he was not very wealthy while he was alive.

This is not the first painting of Picasso’s to have a hidden image underneath. Other paintings of Picasso’s under which hidden images were found include the famous “La Vie,” which is located at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and “Woman Ironing,” which is currently on display at the Guggenheim in Manhattan.

The bow-tied man underneath “The Blue Room” was actually discovered in 1954 when conservators of the Phillips Collection noticed some brush strokes that ran contrary to the original image. However, it wasn’t until 1990 that X-ray technology uncovered a ‘fuzzy image’ of the man underneath. Since then, researchers have been investigating the hidden painting and a more substantial picture of the mysterious bow-tied man has been detected thanks to infrared and other technology.

“The Blue Room” painting has been part of the Phillips Collection since 1927 and research on the painting is scheduled to continue in conjunction with an exhibition scheduled for 2017 which will focus on the original painting and the hidden painting located underneath. It is also part of a South Korean show and tour that is scheduled for 2015.

[Image credit: Associated Press]