There are always surprises to be found when analyzing the canvases of the great painters. Sometimes, the same canvas was used to paint something on top of it, hiding the previous one. That’s what scientists at UCL (University College London) discovered. And they found Picasso’s hidden painting.
It was hidden for more than a century under ‘The Blind Man’s Meal’. It is one of his masterpieces of the ‘blue period’. But there was the image. It was nicknamed ‘The Crouching Solitary Nude’. It is also as an unfinished painting in the background of Picasso’s famous La Vie (Life).
They used spectroscopic imaging, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. Anthony Bourached and George Cann recreated the painting in full-size color. They developed an artificial intelligence algorithm. It analyzed dozens of Picasso’s paintings and trained itself to understand the artist’s style.
Bourached says, “We think Picasso probably painted this piece reluctantly. It was common in his blue period work. It was early in his career, and the materials were expensive. And this also appears in the background of one of his most famous works, La Vie. It indicates that it was probably important to him.”
‘The Blind Man’s Meal’ hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It is one of his most important works after its completion in 1903.
Cann reflects, “I hope Picasso will be happy. The treasure he has hidden is finally being revealed. It is happening 48 years after his death and 118 years after the painting was hidden. The woman in the portrait was not erased from history. Her beauty is finally being revealed in the 21st century.
Picasso was poor at the time and artistic materials were expensive. He probably painted over the earlier work reluctantly. This woman appears in sketches and in another work. Picasso may have had an affinity for this woman.
Picasso’s hidden painting is a beautiful piece. Scholars wonder if other famous works hide new secrets.