X-rays help physicists to see the "hidden" Rembrandt


Specialists from the synchrotron center DESY in Germany for the first time managed to get through a difficult radiographic technology clear image of man, which was hidden under layers of paint on the painting by Rembrandt’s "Portrait of an elderly man in a military suit," according to an article published in the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

Some experts believe that the portrait, which is stored in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, shows the artist’s father. It was written in about 1630, oil on board at the beginning of the Baroque in Northern Europe.

Experts have long been aware of the multi-layer pattern, with which they are found using the infrared rays, X-rays and neutron beams. However, only now for the first time they were able to get a clear picture of "hidden" portrait, using a new method - the macroscopic X-ray fluorescence analysis (MA-XRF).

X-rays are high energy form fluorescence or luminescence, whereby the chemical composition of various substances, in this case paint, light differently. After scanning the whole picture of an X-ray, scientists got a map of pigments restored on it in the end, the image does not hurting the "upper" masterpiece.

"In working with" blacked out "version of Rembrandt’s paintings is that he used them for writing the original figure, and for that which is applied over the paint with the same chemical composition. Work with Van Gogh, for example, which used different pigments, much easier "- said Karen Appel (Karen Appel), co-author of the study and a member of DESY.

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