(MENAFN -Arab News) CHICAGO: What hue of red was really in that Renoir masterpiece? How did Van Gogh envision his yellow flowers? And did Picasso really use housepaint?
Advanced science techniques are helping shed new light on the original beauty that has faded with time on some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, experts said Thursday.
By scaling down sampling techniques to the most miniature levels, scientists can now figure out how individual molecules in a painting vibrate differently, allowing them to see the true organic colors as they were over a century ago.
“We analyzed what the molecules as they were under the frame to tell us what they should be now,” said Richard Van Duyne, an expert, describing a powerful X-ray and microscope technique known as surface-enhanced Raman scattering that was used on a Renoir painting from 1883, called Madame Leon Clapisson.
The painting is now part of an exhibit that opened Feb. 8 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
showing how scientists would revive the rosy and rusty hues to restore how it might have looked back then.
Dutch scientist Joris Dik described how cadmium yellow turned grayish in Van Gogh’s painting, Flowers in a Blue Vase, from 1889.
“We are very much interested in replicating the original painting,” he told reporters at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago.
A digital reconstruction of the flowers Van Gogh painted shows a deeper, brighter clutch of yellow flowers.
Dik’s lab at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands is now working on recreating surface texture and original color in a three-dimensional image in order to showcase what the artist did without changing his actual work.
“With these digital reconstructions we are not bound by the ethical or technical limitations” that standard approaches to conservation have, he said.