New insights into Pablo Picasso’s La Miséreuse accroupie (Barcelona, 1902) using X-ray fluorescence imaging and reflectance spectroscopies combined with micro-analyses of samples

Emeline Pouyet*, Kenneth Brummel, Sandra Webster-Cook, John Delaney, Catherine Dejoie, Gianluca Pastorelli, Marc Walton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The existence of underlying structures in an x-radiograph of La Miséreuse accroupie (1902), a Blue Period painting in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), prompted a comprehensive technical study to unpack how Picasso actually made this iconic work of art. A methodology was used in which 2D macroscopic data were collected in situ using fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy and macro-X-ray fluorescence mapping. It confirmed that Picasso painted over an earlier composition. It also revealed, between the former composition and the finished work, an earlier version of the crouching woman painted by Picasso. The preliminary pigments distribution obtained from both hidden and visible compositions guided the sampling of micro-fragments to perform supplementary micro-analyses. Analyses at the micro-scale allowed the identification of the different pigments present in the complex stratigraphy of the painting. Scanning Electron Microscopy, Fourier Transform spectroscopies and 2D micro X-Ray Powder diffraction provided further insights into Picasso’s early palette.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1408
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Volume2
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy
  • Hidden composition
  • Macro X-ray fluorescence
  • Micro spectroscopic analyses
  • Picasso
  • Pigment identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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