Machines Reproduce “Lost” Picasso Nude

This new technology story about antique canvas and paint reminds me very much of the problem with old hard drives. Anyone remember how many passes using new data were required to safely “delete” a file?

A painting of a naked woman by Pablo Picasso that has been hidden beneath one of his “Blue Period’ masterpieces for more than a century has been recreated by UCL scientists using a combination of X-rays, AI and 3D printing.

Ph.D. researchers Anthony Bourached (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) and George Cann (UCL Space and Climate Physics) have developed a five-step technology to reproduce art works that have been painted over.

I’m not sure it was hidden. Sounds to me more like the artist wanted to paint something else using the same canvas, perhaps unhappy with the nude or even inspired by it to cover it up with another idea.

The researchers say they believe Picasso was reluctant to cover up work because cost of materials was high and it was “early in his career”.

However, their own argument works against them. Willfully covering up an image makes MORE sense if material costs are high (reuse). And the value of the image is lower because early in career, thus this “loss” was probably perceived by Picasso as only a gain… like someone overwriting an image on a small hard drive because more drive space is expensive and the image doesn’t have apparent value.

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