Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee creates three-dimensional fantasy worlds.

With her background in visual design and photography, Lee captures her dreams, experiences, memories and emotions by building elaborate sets for her ongoing self-portrait series “Stage of Mind.”

In one of her latest works, “La Vie en Rose,” Lee drew inspiration from a Korean proverb, “Life is a thorny path,” and sculpted thorns made out of resin and plaster to represent life’s countless hardships.

“Pretty much anything surrounding me can become a source of inspiration,” Lee tells CNN.

Lee photographs herself as a character in each set and then records their destruction using video. “I could have used other models, but I find it more suitable to model myself since my work is very biographical. It reflects my identity and my life.” Her creations are cathartic, a way to remember and meditate.

Each installation takes Lee between two to three months to produce — from buying supplies to setting up lights — and the cost of each set varies from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Lee works completely solo and her photos are free of digital manipulations.

“This entire process is an act of discipline and training. I wouldn’t be able to experience these emotions through Photoshop.”

Her newest images, which were recently exhibited at the Gallery GO in Korea. Below, Lee discusses her work with CNN Style.

CNN: Why did you choose to create “a room” to capture your thoughts and memories?

Lee: When we visit someone else’s room, we can guess a lot about that person. A room is an enclosed and private space and my work is about creating a space that represents my psychological state of mind. So I thought characteristics of a room would be suitable.

CNN: Does being Korean influence your work in anyway?

Lee: I guess there would be a subconscious cultural element, since the environment that a person grows up in affects his or her identity. Some of my previous works, such as “Nightscape”, “Resurrection” and “Treasure Hunt” depict the Korean landscape that I saw growing up.

CNN: Why do you favor creating real scenes, as opposed to creating them using software programs like Photoshop?

Lee: The fact that I’m reflecting on real events and emotions that I’ve experienced makes my work real. On the other hand, the fact that the scenes I am creating only exist in my head makes it surreal.
I am creating installations to bring my thoughts into the real world, and taking photos of them to capture a part of my life and reminisce that moment.

By destructing the scene at the end, I’m putting the moment back in the past, where it belongs. This entire, emotional process is an act of discipline and training for me. I wouldn’t be able to experience this through Photoshop.
CNN: Your gaze is always fixed away from the camera in your photos. Why is that?
Lee: I want people to look at the entire scene, not just the model. Also, by not revealing particular facial expressions, it becomes an indirect expression of my emotions and allows for a wider interpretation of my work. Even though I am a protagonist in my work, I want the person to appear as one of the objects in the picture.

READ: Chinese artist makes mountains from tower blocks and construction sites
CNN: What is most challenging about realizing your work?

Lee: My installation is a very labor-focused work. So it’s physically hard, and eventually it’s a battle with myself. Sometimes traumatic memories I have with the story I’m recreating disturbs me.
CNN: Tell us about your most memorable project.

Lee: “Anxiety” means a lot to me. It was a very experimental work. I consider the entire process of building a set, taking a photograph, and destroying it, as my work. In most cases, the photograph is the final result, but for “Anxiety,” I exhibited two photographs and a video.

“Anxiety”

This work addresses common worries, insecurity, and doubts that we go through in our everyday lives.
In it, a performer makes a strange noise and I’ve cut the sound of the phrase “it’s okay” per syllable, and she reads them as if she’s singing. It sounds very disturbing, but since the work deals with concerns and insecurity, I wanted to deliver those feelings to the audience more directly.
CNN: What is your dream project that you hope to work on?

Lee: I have a lot of projects that I’d like to work on. Since I’m creating different sets inside the studio, there definitely are spatial limitations and there are limitations to the kind of light I can use. I want to work in a really large space, so large that a person will appear as small as a dot. I also want to try building an installation in the back of a truck and move around like a traveling theater.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/21/arts/artist-jeeyoung-lee-surreal-rooms/index.html

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Urban artist Biancoshock has converted Milanese manholes into tiny rooms to spotlight the extreme conditions people around the world are forced to live in.

The satirical intervention — titled ‘Borderlife’ — draws specifically from living standards in Bucharest, where more than 600 people call the city’s sewers home.

‘If some problems cannot be avoided, make them comfortable,’ Biancoshock says ironically.

The artist describes his work as ‘ephemeral experiences’ that play with the urban landscape of European cities.

He made the headlines in 2012 with a stress-reducing installation at a Milan bus stop, where customers could kill time waiting for their bus by bursting bubble wrap.


This photo provided by Australian Synchrotron and the National Gallery of Victoria, shows an image discovered with X-ray fluorescence microscopy, beneath Edgar Degas’ Portrait of a Woman. (Right) Degas’ painting Portrait of a Woman.

By Merrit Kennedy

Using specialized X-ray imaging, a team of researchers in Australia has revealed a striking painting of a woman’s face hidden under French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ Portrait of a Woman.

The researchers believe the auburn-haired woman in the hidden work — which they also attribute to Degas — is Emma Dobigny, who was reportedly one of Degas’ favorite subjects and modeled for him in 1869 and 1870.

It’s long been known that another painting lay beneath the image of an unknown woman in a black dress and bonnet, housed in the collection at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia. Since at least 1922, the research team explains in Scientific Reports, another form has slowly become visible, discoloring the bonneted woman’s face.

“Degas painted directly on the underlying portrait with no intermediate ground paint layer using exceptionally thin paint layers, thus little pigment is present to provide hiding power,” the researchers wrote. “The hiding power of paint layers often decreases as oil paintings age.”

Even as the traces of a ghostly form emerged over the course of decades, conventional imaging technology could only provide hints of what the hidden portrait looked like.

Now, an enhanced process known as X-ray fluorescence elemental mapping gives a far better picture. The technique allowed the researchers to scan for the individual elements — such as iron, zinc and copper — found in different colors of paint. This chart shows maps of elements the researchers tested:


(Left) Eleven elemental maps providing an overview of the construction of the painting. (Right) Detail of zinc map.

The team said the maps “can be used to deduce pigment use based on the elements observed within the context of the painting.” For example, “Fe and Mn are co-located in the hidden sitter’s hair … strongly suggesting the use of the brown pigment umber.” The researchers detected cobalt in the face, and deduced that it is “probably present as a blue pigment, which is useful in defining flesh tones.”

By layering the elemental maps together, the researchers were able to create this representation of the hidden work:

It didn’t take long for them to identify Dobigny as the painting’s likely subject, study co-author Daryl Howard told the BBC: “Once the image had come through, basically what I did was to look up Degas’s catalogue of works. And I would say in under five minutes, it seemed that we had a good match. … I think the likeness is quite amazing.”

The researchers think at least seven years passed between the two portraits. The earlier work uses lighter and cooler tones, while the later painting is warmer and darker. This was helpful to the imaging process — as the researchers explained, “his change in palette provides exceptional elemental contrast.”

The X-ray fluorescence technique was previously used on Vincent Van Gogh’s Patch of Grass to reveal a portrait of a peasant woman, as NPR reported in 2008.

The team in Australia said the technology has advanced since then — it’s faster and can measure “spatial resolutions on the order of the size of a paint bristle.”

This technique, researchers concluded, “will significantly impact the ways cultural heritage is studied for authentication.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/05/488824963/x-rays-reveal-hidden-portrait-under-painting-by-edgar-degas


The statue by Sophie Ryder had to be moved because people on their phones were bumping into it.

By Sophie Jamieson

A massive 20ft statue of two clasped hands had to be relocated after people texting on their mobile phones kept walking into it.

The sculpture, called ‘The Kiss’, was only put in place last weekend, but within days those in charge of the exhibition noticed walkers on the path were bumping their heads as they walked through the archway underneath.

Artist Sophie Ryder, who designed the sculpture, posted a video of it being moved by a crane on her Facebook page.

The artwork was positioned on a path leading up to Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire.

Made from galvanised steel wire, The Kiss had a 6ft 4in gap underneath the two hands that pedestrians could walk through.

But Ms Ryder said people glued to their phones had not seen it coming.

She said on social media: “We had to move ‘the kiss’ because people were walking through texting and said they bumped their heads! Oh well!!”

Her fans voiced their surprise that people could fail to notice the “ginormous” sculpture.

Cindy Billingsley commented: “Oh good grief- they should be looking at the beautiful art instead of texting- so they deserve what they get if they are not watching where they are going.”

Patricia Cunningham said: “If [sic] may have knocked some sense into their heads! We can but hope.”

Another fan, Lisa Wallis-Adams, wrote: “We saw your art in Salisbury at the weekend. We absolutely loved your rabbits and didn’t walk into any of them! Sorry some people are complete numpties.”

Sculptor Sophie Ryder studied at the Royal Academy of Arts and is known for creations of giant mythical figures, like minotaurs.

The sculpture is part of an exhibition that also features Ryder’s large “lady hares” and minotaurs, positioned on the lawn outside the cathedral. The exhibition runs until 3 July.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12164922/Massive-sculpture-relocated-because-people-busy-texting-kept-walking-into-it.html

Visitors to a new exhibition at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, won’t just be looking at art. Thanks to virtual reality, they’ll be exploring a Dali painting in a dreamy, three-dimensional world that turns art appreciation into an unforgettable, immersive experience.

The new exhibition, “Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination,” tells the story of the relationship between Salvador Dali, the surrealist artist, and Walt Disney, the great American animator and theme-park pioneer.

But the museum exhibition’s highlight comes after visitors have seen the Disney-Dali show’s paintings, story sketches, correspondence, photos and other artifacts. As visitors leave the exhibition area, they’ll be invited to don a headset to try the virtual reality experience.

Called “Dreams of Dali,” the VR experience takes viewers inside Dali’s 1935 painting “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus.'” The painting depicts two towering stone figures along with tiny human figures in a bare landscape with a moody sky. Users can move around inside the painting, using Oculus Rift headsets to navigate a trippy three-dimensional environment that includes motifs from other Dali works like elephants, birds, ants and his “Lobster Telephone” sculpture.

Accompanied by a haunting piano soundtrack punctuated by bird cries, the VR visuals also include a crescent moon, a stone tunnel and even an image of rocker Alice Cooper, whom Dali featured in a hologram he created in 1973.

“You actually have a three-dimensional feeling that you’re inside a painting,” said Jeff Goodby, whose firm Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the VR experience. “It’s not just like you’re inside a sphere with things being projected. It’s actually like there are objects closer and further away and you’re walking amidst them. It’s a vulnerable feeling you give yourself up to. It’s not like anything you’ve ever felt before.” The VR experience was previewed in New York for the media 10 days before its opening Saturday at the Florida museum.

Disney and Dali met in the 1940s in Hollywood, according to museum director Hank Hine. “Their sensibilities were very connected,” Hine said. “They wanted to take art off the palette, out of the canvas and into the world.” The exhibition looks at the castle motif that became a symbol of Disney parks, along with Dali’s “Dream of Venus” pavilion from the 1939 World’s Fair, which some consider a precursor of contemporary installation art.

Disney and Dali also collaborated on a short animated movie, “Destino,” that was eventually completed by Disney Studios. The six-minute movie, which can be found on YouTube, features a dancing girl with long dark hair, a sundial motif and a song with the line, “You came along out of a dream. … You are my destino.” Clips will be played within the gallery for the Disney-Dali exhibition and the full short will be shown at the museum’s theater.

The show also displays the Dali painting that inspired the VR experience, “Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus.'” The surrealist work was Dali’s interpretation of a 19th-century painting by Jean-Francois Millet depicting two peasants in a field, heads bowed in prayer. Dali said that his work was a “fantasy during which I imagined sculptures of the two figures in Millet’s ‘Angelus’ carved out of the highest rocks.”

Museum marketing director Kathy Greif said record numbers of visitors attended its last two major shows exploring Dali’s relationships with Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Given the Disney brand’s immense popularity and the VR novelty, attendance expectations for this show are high as well.

Dali “wanted art that took you over,” said Goodby. “He wanted to take you away and do something different with your head and that’s what this does.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:bbb7d86c27c34a5d8a53310f2ece2c98

A series of photos sees Japanese dads jumping next to their daughters
They are part of a new book by Japanese photographer Yûki Aoyama
The book’s title roughly translates as Daughter and Salary Man

Sick of awkward father-daughter portraits? Well one photographer has found an effective – if a little odd – way of making them more interesting.

Japanese photographer Yûki Aoyama’s latest series of images capture po-faced teenagers pictured next to their fathers leaping into the air.

In each picture the daughter looks directly into the camera smiling while her father pulls a dramatic pose.

The images are from the 37-year-old’s latest book which roughly translates into Daughter and Salary Man.

According to the photographer’s website the images allow the father who usually has to act serious to express his fun side by being ‘a hero jumping the sky, enfold(ing) strong excitement and hope.’

http://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.co.uk&sl=ja&u=http://yukiao.jp/

Salary man may refer to the choice of clothing in the shoot which sees each dad in a sharply dressed suit.

The images see the fathers pull energetic poses despite their age with some of the expressions of the older fathers looking slightly pained.

Very little else is known about the pictures or why they have come into existence but they are already drumming up plenty of interest online for their curious nature.

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3021238/Bizarre-Japanese-trend-fathers-photographed-JUMPING-daughters.html#ixzz3WovRtiSv

A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the modern-day superbug MRSA in an unusual research collaboration at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon expert from the School of English has enlisted the help of microbiologists from University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences to recreate a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald’s Leechbook an Old English leatherbound volume in the British Library, to see if it really works as an antibacterial remedy. The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.

Early results on the ‘potion’, tested in vitro at Nottingham and backed up by mouse model tests at a university in the United States, are, in the words of the US collaborator, “astonishing”. The solution has had remarkable effects on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs costing modern health services billions.

The team now has good, replicated data showing that Bald’s eye salve kills up to 90% of MRSA bacteria in ‘in vivo’ wound biopsies from mouse models. They believe the bactericidal effect of the recipe is not due to a single ingredient but the combination used and brewing methods/container material used. Further research is planned to investigate how and why this works.

The testing of the ancient remedy was the idea of Dr Christina Lee, Associate Professor in Viking Studies and member of the University’s Institute for Medieval Research. Dr Lee translated the recipe from a transcript of the original Old English manuscript in the British Library.

The recipe calls for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and oxgall (bile from a cow’s stomach). It describes a very specific method of making the topical solution including the use of a brass vessel to brew it in, a straining to purify it and an instruction to leave the mixture for nine days before use.

The scientists at Nottingham made four separate batches of the remedy using fresh ingredients each time, as well as a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheet to mimic the brewing container but without the vegetable compounds.

The remedy was tested on cultures of the commonly found and hard to treat bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, in both synthetic wounds and in infected wounds in mice.

The team made artificial wound infections by growing bacteria in plugs of collagen and then exposed them to each of the individual ingredients, or the full recipe. None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe the Staphylococcus populations were almost totally obliterated: about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived.

The team then went on to see what happened if they diluted the eye salve – as it is hard to know just how much of the medicine bacteria would be exposed to when applied to a real infection. They found that when the medicine is too dilute to kill Staphylococcus aureus, it interfered with bacterial cell-cell communication (quorum sensing). This is a key finding, because bacteria have to talk to each other to switch on the genes that allow them to damage infected tissues. Many microbiologists think that blocking this behaviour could be an alternative way of treating infection.

Dr Lee said: “We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab. We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings. But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.

“Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections (weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections). Given that these remedies were developed well before the modern understanding of germ theory, this poses two questions: How systematic was the development of these remedies? And how effective were these remedies against the likely causative species of bacteria? Answering these questions will greatly improve our understanding of medieval scholarship and medical empiricism, and may reveal new ways of treating serious bacterial infections that continue to cause illness and death.”

University microbiologist, Dr Freya Harrison has led the work in the laboratory at Nottingham with Dr Steve Diggle and Research Associate Dr Aled Roberts. She will present the findings at the Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology which starts on Monday 30th March 2015 in Birmingham.

Dr Harrison commented: “We thought that Bald’s eyesalve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab – copper and bile salts can kill bacteria, and the garlic family of plants make chemicals that interfere with the bacteria’s ability to damage infected tissues. But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was. We tested it in difficult conditions too; we let our artificial ‘infections’ grow into dense, mature populations called ‘biofilms’, where the individual cells bunch together and make a sticky coating that makes it hard for antibiotics to reach them. But unlike many modern antibiotics, Bald’s eye salve has the power to breach these defences.”

Dr Steve Diggle added: “When we built this recipe in the lab I didn’t really expect it to actually do anything. When we found that it could actually disrupt and kill cells in S. aureus biofilms, I was genuinely amazed. Biofilms are naturally antibiotic resistant and difficult to treat so this was a great result. The fact that it works on an organism that it was apparently designed to treat (an infection of a stye in the eye) suggests that people were doing carefully planned experiments long before the scientific method was developed.”

Dr Kendra Rumbaugh carried out in vivo testing of the Bald’s remedy on MRSA infected skin wounds in mice at Texas Tech University in the United States. Dr Rumbaugh said: “We know that MRSA infected wounds are exceptionally difficult to treat in people and in mouse models. We have not tested a single antibiotic or experimental therapeutic that is completely effective; however, this ‘ancient remedy’ performed as good if not better than the conventional antibiotics we used.”

Dr Harrison concludes: “The rise of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria and the lack of new antimicrobials in the developmental pipeline are key challenges for human health. There is a pressing need to develop new strategies against pathogens because the cost of developing new antibiotics is high and eventual resistance is likely. This truly cross-disciplinary project explores a new approach to modern health care problems by testing whether medieval remedies contain ingredients which kill bacteria or interfere with their ability to cause infection”.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2015/march/ancientbiotics—a-medieval-remedy-for-modern-day-superbugs.aspx

Artwork in an Indonesian cave has been found to date back at least 40,000 years, making it the oldest sign yet of human creative art — likely pre-dating art from European caves.

The findings undermine a Eurocentric view of the origins of human creativity and could prompt a ‘gold rush’ to find even older art on the route of human migration from Africa to the east.

The analysis hints at “just what a wealth of undiscovered information there is in Asia”, says Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK, who in 2013 identified what had been considered the world’s oldest cave art, in Europe2, and had no involvement in the current project. “This paper will likely prompt a hunt.”

The Indonesian images, discovered in a limestone cave on the island of Sulawesi in the 1950s, had previously been thought to date back only 10,000 years. Anything older would, it was assumed, have deteriorated.

Even after a technology that could test that assumption, uranium-thorium dating, became available, no one thought to apply it to the Indonesian cave — until now. Though the paint itself cannot be dated, uranium-thorium dating can estimate the age of the bumpy layers of calcium carbonate (known as ‘cave popcorn’) that formed on the surface of the paintings. As mineral layers are deposited, they draw in uranium. Because uranium decays into thorium at a known rate, the ratio of uranium to thorium isotopes in a sample indicates how old it is.

The researchers dated 12 stencils of human hands and two images of large animals. Because they sampled the top layer of calcium carbonate, the uranium dating technique gave them a minimum age for each sample.

They found that the oldest stencil was at least 39,900 years old — 2,000 years older than the minimum age of the oldest European hand stencil. An image of a babirusa, or ‘pig-deer’, resembling an aubergine with stick-like legs jutting from each end, was estimated to be 35,400 years old — around the same age as the earliest large animal pictures in European caves.

The hand stencils look similar to those found in Europe. But the animal pictures, in addition to reflecting local animals rather than mammoths as in Europe, are stylistically different. The Indonesian images “look ‘line-y’, almost like brush strokes”, says Pike, whereas early European images “look dabbed, almost like finger paint”.

“It allows us to move away from the view that Europe was special,” says Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who led the team. “There was some idea that early Europeans were more aware of themselves and their surroundings. Now we can say that’s not true.”

Researchers posit two theories for the evolution of such artwork — either it arose independently in Indonesia, or early humans leaving Africa already had the capacity to make art, and carried it to multiple areas.

Pike thinks that researchers should seek evidence of art along the southern migration route. “India is the most obvious place to look,” he says. “I expect we’ll start getting a lot more photos [of images covered in calcium carbonate] from along that corridor from people who want to date them. This may move the field along very rapidly.” Southeast Asia will also be raked over, he predicts. There are hundreds more caves in that region of Sulawesi alone, and Aubert has also started looking in Borneo.

The discovery weakens a much-debated theory that Neanderthals, who were present in Europe until around 41,000 years ago, might have been responsible for the cave art there. “There were no Neanderthals in Sulawesi,” says Pike. But the hand stencils and choice of subject are very similar to the Indonesian figures, he adds.

Aubert hopes that the discovery might draw attention to the need to protect the caves, many of which have been damaged by mining and other industrial activity. Many of the paintings are flaking off, he says. He hopes that the site might finally, after years of candidacy, be designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organization, which would accelerate conservation efforts.

Naturedoi:10.1038/nature.2014.16100

http://www.nature.com/news/world-s-oldest-art-found-in-indonesian-cave-1.16100


The Blue Room features a nude woman bathing in Picasso’s studio.


Infrared technology revealed it had another image below the surface.


When the image was turned on its side, it revealed a portrait of a man.

A hidden painting has been found by scientists beneath the brush strokes of The Blue Room, a 1901 Picasso artwork.

Art experts and conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington used infrared technology on the masterpiece, revealing a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand.

Picasso created both works in Paris during his famous blue period.

“It’s really one of those moments that really makes what you do special,” said conservator Patricia Favero.

Acknowledged as one of the 20th Century’s greatest artists, Pablo Picasso focused on monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green during his blue period from 1900 to 1904.

The Blue Room has been the subject of exploration since 2008 by experts from the Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Delaware’s Winterthur Museum.

Improved infrared imagery allowed them to see a man wearing a jacket and bow tie, resting his bearded face on his hand with three rings on his fingers.

Technical analysis confirmed the hidden portrait was likely to have been painted just before The Blue Room.

Favero added that, having found the second image back in 2008, they then wanted to know who the man was.

“We’re still working on answering that question,” she said.

Curator Susan Behrends Frank told press agency AP: “When he [Picasso] had an idea, you know, he just had to get it down and realise it,” explaining that the artist had quickly painted over another completed picture when the inspiration took him.

“He could not afford to acquire new canvasses every time he had an idea that he wanted to pursue. He worked sometimes on cardboard because canvas was so much more expensive.”

The Blue Room has been part of the Phillips Collection since 1927.

Conservators suspected back in 1954 it may have had another painting below its surface, as brushstrokes did not match the composition of a woman bathing in Picasso’s studio.

But it was not until the 1990s that an X-ray revealed a “fuzzy image” of something under the main image.

Research on The Blue Room will continue and curators have planned a 2017 exhibition focusing on the painting and the portrait beneath it. It is also part of a tour to South Korea in 2015.

This is not the first time a hidden image has been found beneath a Picasso artwork.

A technical analysis of La Vie at the Cleveland Museum of Art revealed he had reworked the painting’s composition, while a moustached man was found beneath the painting Woman Ironing at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-27884323

When Dutch restorers started to peel away centuries of varnish and grime from ‘View of Scheveningen Sands’ by Hendrick van Anthonissen, left, they discovered that a whale that had been painted over, right.

By M. Alex Johnson

For centuries, art historians have wondered about an otherwise unremarkable seaside painting by the 17th-century Dutch master Hendrick van Anthonissen: Why are clusters of people gathered on the beach and on the nearby cliffs in obviously unpleasant winter weather looking at nothing?

The answer, British art conservators announced Thursday, is that they are looking at an enormous beached whale, which was later painted out of the picture.

When and by whom — and most important, why, since curators say it's evident the whale is supposed to be the focal point of the painting — still aren't known.

The painting, titled "View of Scheveningen Sands," is one of a series of seaside paintings by Anthonissen (1605-56), a lesser master of the Dutch Golden Age.

It had been under restoration at Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University since early this year, the museum said Thursday, and as varnish and heavily daubed overpaint were painstakingly scraped away over the months, its true subject slowly emerged.

"Sometimes as conservators, while working on a painting, we are lucky enough to make a surprising discovery," Shan Kuang, the postdoctoral student at the Fitzwilliams' Hamilton Kerr Institute who led the project, said in a video the museum published describing the work's restoration.

Kuang said her interest was piqued by the people on the beach who appeared to be intently looking at nothing in particular.

As she slowly removed protective varnish that had badly discolored over more than four centuries, "a figure started appearing standing directly over the horizon line," she said.

That was "extremely unexpected and peculiar," she said,as the figure looked as though he or she were magically hovering several feet over the water.

"We spent a good deal of time speculating about what it could be, and then the fin started appearing," Kuang said.

Eventually the head began to emerge as layers of heavy paint were removed, and it became clear that a whale on the beach had been painted out of the painting, probably well after Anthonissen completed it around 1641.

"At the end of the treatment, the whale had returned as a key component of the composition, just as the artist had intended,” she said.

The museum said the discovery might not be as surprising as it would first seem.

"Contemporary records show many instances of whale beaching on the coastline of the Netherlands in the first half of the 17th century," it said.

Kuang said the crude overpaint, which filled in the sea and shore where the whale had been, could have been added "because the presence of a dead animal was considered offensive" in the 18th or early 19th centuries.

Removing it could have made the painting more marketable at a time in history when paintings were more commonly seen as commodities, not precious works of art, she said.

"View of Scheveningen Sands" is now back on permanent display in Fitzwilliam — whale and all, just as Anthonissen wanted it.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/whale-discovery-hidden-dutch-masterpiece-n123971