Thanks to recent advances in infrared technology, scientists discovered Pablo Picasso's hidden portrait of a mysterious bearded man hidden under another, more famous painting, the Associated Press reports.
Picasso's painting "The Blue Room," from 1901, was an early moment in his Blue Period, a series of melancholy and somber works. While those works are pretty expensive to collect nowadays, Picasso found them difficult to sell at the time and so he was often broke. "He could not afford to acquire new canvasses every time he had an idea that he wanted to pursue," curator Susan Behrends Frank explained to the AP. "He worked sometimes on cardboard because canvass was so much more expensive." Reusing his old canvasses was another cheaper option.
In this case, "The Blue Room" was drawn on top of a previous sketch by Picasso of a mystery man in a bow-tie with his head resting on his hand. Technical analysis confirmed the preliminary work as a Picasso painting, but experts remain unsure of the man's identity. They do know it is not a self-portrait.
This isn't the first time art detectives have uncovered a painted-over Picasso painting. Two years ago, researchers found another painted-over portrait of a sitting man sitting hidden under Picasso's "Woman Ironing." The New York Times provided some suspects on that character's identity, but the exact person remains unknown.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.