Advanced Photon Source

An Office of Science National User Facility

APS X-rays Reveal Picasso’s Secret


APS X-rays Reveal Picasso’s Secret “X-rays Reveal Picasso’s Secret,” by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory, Medill Reports Chicago

Oct 11, 2012

Picasso’s “Old Guitarist” hides a past life of a former painting.

The Art Institute of Chicago x-rayed the painting to reveal the menagerie image underneath of a woman, child and animals.

The Illinois Institute of Technology, in conjunction with the Chicago Council on Science and Technology and Argonne National Laboratory, hosted a crossroads event Wednesday, bridging the art and science of understanding Picasso.

Art Institute of Chicago conservation scientist Francesca Casadio and painting conservator Allison Langley combined art analysis and scientific techniques to bring to life Picasso’s creative methodologies -—secret pictures hidden beneath familiar masterpieces and the mystery of his artistic mediums.

Physicists and X-ray help solve Picasso mystery” in the Chicago Tribune can be read here (digital membership required).

“Art Scene Investigation: Picasso goes Nanotech,” by Francesca Casadio, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Conservation Scientist, Art Institute of Chicago, can be read here.

The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science x-ray user facilities, visit

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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