A Secret Painting Is Discovered Hidden Beneath Pablo Picasso’s ‘Crouching Woman’ Masterpiece

Keystone Getty Images

Lurking deep beneath Pablo Picasso’s 1902 Crouching Woman painting lies another mystery painting, and it was discovered thanks to a clever new piece of scanning technology which is an x-ray fluorescence system.

The technology is sure to be embraced by museums, especially considering the fact that it is not only extremely inexpensive when compared with other options, but is also portable and can be easily transported to different galleries.

Picasso’s Crouching Woman painting, perhaps more properly known as La Miséreuse accroupie, was painted during Pablo’s famous Blue Period which lasted from 1901 to 1904, and in which the artist rarely deviated from using different shades of blue to create his works.

Of this period in time, Pablo Picasso once stated that it was influenced by the suicide of his dear friend Carlos Casagemas, declaring, “I started painting in blue when I learned of Casagemas’s death.”

The Crouching Woman depicts a woman who is draped in a greenish colored cloak and is sadly crouching on the ground with closed eyes.

Researchers from different universities which include the Art Institute of Chicago’s Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, Northwestern University, the National Gallery of Art and the Art Gallery of Toronto made the surprising discovery of the mystery painting beneath the Pablo Picasso masterpiece and Kenneth Brummel of Toronto jubilantly explained how “excited” he felt upon first seeing the hidden painting, according to the BBC.

“It helps to date the painting and it also helps to determine where the painting was made. But it also gives a sense of the artists with whom the painter was engaging. And these insights help us ask new, more interesting and scientifically more accurate questions regarding an artist, their process and how they arrived at the forms that we see on the surface of a painting.”

The original painting that was found to be hiding behind Picasso’s Crouching Woman turned out to be that of a Catalan landscape and is believed to have been created by another artist who may have been one of Pablo’s students. The painting had undergone a 90-degree rotation and what had once been countryside hills was carefully turned into the back of the mourning woman.

Francesco Casadio, who works at Chicago’s Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, explained that she has no doubt that the new x-ray fluorescence scanning system will soon be revealing even more secrets about other paintings in the future.

“Many more paintings are waiting to tell their secrets and with our scanning system we can help them talk to us more.”

The new research conducted on Pablo Picasso’s Crouching Woman painting will be shown in Austin at the yearly meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science which takes place on February 17.