X-ray uncovers hidden portrait beneath famed painting
The Associated Press
First posted: Friday, August 05, 2016 01:25 AM EDT | Updated: Friday, August 05, 2016 01:31 AM EDT
SYDNEY, Australia -- A powerful X-ray technique has unveiled a hidden portrait beneath a painting by French impressionist painter Edward Degas.
An article published this week in the online journal Scientific Reports reveals an image concealed behind Degas "Portrait of a Woman" is, in fact, a portrait of another woman. Australian researchers believe she is Emma Dobigny, one of the painter's favourite models.
Experts have long known that Degas painted the famed portrait over another image. As the painting aged, the faint outline of what appeared to be another woman began leaking through the top layers of paint.
Staff at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne asked scientists from Australian Synchrotron to scan the painting with a high-definition X-ray beam produced by a particle accelerator called a synchrotron to unveil the image.
This undated handout picture released on August 4, 2016 by the Nature publishing Group shows an Edgar Degas painting "Portrait of a Woman" as it appears during the imaging scan. The MAIA Detector is carefully positioned less than 2 mm from the paintings surface in order to achieve the highest quality data. The detector collects data simultaneously over 384 channels, which means that much higher resolutions are achieved in much shorter time spans when compared to single point detectors. An experiment that would take weeks of beam time by conventional methods is reduced to only 20 to 30 hours. (AFP PHOTO / NATURE / David Thurrowgood )

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