Known as one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces, The Blue Room is providing a new level of intrigue over 100 years later for scientists and art experts as "x-ray fluorescence intensity mapping" has revealed an image of a man hidden beneath the layers of paint.
The image revealed isn't one of those Jesus-in-toast kind of faces, but clearly a portrait of a man in a bow-tie that Picasso intentionally covered up with a new painting. The process of uncovering the hidden image took five years and several experts from Cornell University, the Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, and Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Patricia Fowler, conservator for the Phillips Collection, said that "it's one of those moments that really makes what you do special...and then the second reaction was, well, who is it?"
Solving that part of the mystery could take another century, but for now, those involved in the discovery are thrilled and can't wait to share more about it and the process with the public. "Our audiences are hungry for this," said Phillips Collection director Dorothy Kosinski. "It's kind of detective work. It's giving them a doorway of access that I think enriches, maybe adds mystery, while allowing them to be part of a piecing together of a puzzle."