AI helped recreate a work of art that had been hidden under a painting by Pablo Picasso for almost 120 years

AI helps recreate the painting hidden beneath a Picasso masterpiece. The landscape was discovered by applying x-ray images to Picasso’s painting.

The mysterious landscape lay beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso’s “Crouching Misery”, or “The Crouching Beggar”, a portrait of a destitute woman.

Tracks since 2018

In 2018, researchers already used an X-ray fluorescence imaging instrument to reveal a faint image of the covered scene. The x-ray image had uncovered a cloudy shadow of the painting. AI was used to reconstruct the image in detail and color.

The recreation was performed by Oxia Palus, an art collective that uses AI to uncover lost masterpieces. The Oxia Palus team used a combination of spectroscopic imaging, artificial intelligence and 3D printing to update the visible trace of the landscape. They call the method “the neomastic process”.

They then used a 3D height map to apply paint layers to the canvas in Rusiñol’s style. They say the approach incorporates the depth, thickness, and approximate length of the artist’s brushstrokes into the recreation.

Art historians suspect that it is a painting of a park near Barcelona by Santiago Rusiñol, a friend of Picasso and leader of the Catalan modernist movement. They believe that Picasso traced the hills in the landscape to shape the contours of the crouching woman’s back.

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