The ancient painting that remains hidden under Picasso's canvas was restored with an ai


La Miséreuse Accroupie (Poverty Crouching), also known as "The Crouching Beggar", is a celebrated work by Pablo Picasso. On it, it was recently discovered that he hid under his canvas an older painting by another author.

The find was made with the help of artificial intelligence, following a restoration work carried out by the artistic collective Oxia Palus.


A work is hidden for more than a century

Since 1992 there have been reports of certain anomalies in Picasso's painting, particularly on its surface. While this background might suggest the reuse of the canvas, there was no other evidence to assert or deny this theory more certainly.

In 2018, a treatment applied to Picasso's work, based on non-invasive techniques using X-ray fluorescence (FRX), revealed the plots of the discovered work illustrating a landscape that, according to the observations of experts in the field, would correspond to a park of the Maze of Horta, in Barcelona, allegedly painted by Santiago Rusiñol, Picasso's friend.

 The initial reconstruction of this work limits its quality to that of an X-ray or a monochromatic scan. However, it was restored and is now on sale.

The team of the collective Oxia Palus assumed this task with the help of a neural network. Based on his work the restored illustration, plus a sample of other works by Rusiñol used to train AI, this restoration was obtained built using 3D printing techniques, in order in the most reliable way possible the first work created on that canvas. The technique used for this purpose is called NeoMaster Painting and corresponds to a technology that will soon be patented.

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The restoration process was not only responsible for giving this painting a closer look to that of a well-preserved work. The AI treatment was responsible for emulating the technique of the artist's brushstrokes in terms of their thicknesses, depths, and lengths.

While Picasso's painting remains intact at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada, the restoration of Rusiñol's work is on sale at MORF Gallery in physical format, accompanied by an NFT. Its current price is $11,111.11 and only 100 units were released for sale, of which only the last ones remaining.

Outside of the curiosity revealed through this process, the mechanism used opens an interesting window to perform similar restorations in a non-invasive way on classical works that, for conservation reasons, can hardly be handled under other more direct dynamics.

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