The Naked Secret of Picasso that Technology has Discovered Behind this Painting

This is a drawing during the blue stage of the Malaga painter in which he portrayed images of suffering, suicide and poverty.

Apparently it is a proto-cubist portrait in which a man dressed in rags and looking tired plays the guitar in the street. However, Pablo Picasso’s Old Blind Guitarist hides something else: the portrait of a naked woman on a blue background.

This is an unpublished painting by the artist who should never have seen the light, since the painter decided to recycle the canvas to hide the mysterious woman and paint the musician without a roof. However, Anthony Bourached and George Cann, two scientists from University College London, have managed to reveal the secret hidden by Malaga.

To reconstruct this work of art, researchers have combined different techniques such as radiographs, artificial intelligence and computational models. In this way, they have been able to identify not only the silhouette of the painting below (something that the radiographs allowed until now simply showing a sketch without color) but also reconstruct the painting with the original chromatic patterns.

We have presented a novel method to reconstruct works of art that had been lost, “the researchers explain in MIT Technology Review statements.” To this end, we have applied a combination of radiographs and neural networks to the paint below so that it could be reconstructed, ” indicate.

The key piece for this reconstruction is the technique of artificial neural networks, which has other applications better known among the general public such as the Deep Fakes: fake videos (but with real appearance) that are used for humorous purposes or to discredit political rivals .

Neural networks are a computational model that finds its distant inspiration in brain cells. Each of them is interconnected to others. His job is to analyze a series of layers of an image on different scales. One of these layers can be destined to recognize edges, the next one is able to identify basic shapes, the following more elaborate forms and so on, until the different parts of the human body present in this painting are identified.

Despite the impressive results that this technology is providing in different fields, artificial neural networks are a very recent technique. Its development started at the Universität Tübingen only four years ago.

According to researchers, in addition to discovering anonymous works of art, this method would serve to “broaden the understanding of the creative process of an artist” like Pablo Picasso.