Researchers in museums around the world have been using new technology to discover hidden portions and secrets behind famous paintings. The most recent masterpiece scanned is Rembrandt’s Susanna and the Elders, a painting that depicts biblical story. This painting was chosen based on earlier scans that had shown rework done by Rembrandt, and because it was small enough to get scanned in a day.
Art lovers like Christian Broda (crunchbase.com) know that the painting is 400 years old, and while there were several changes shown, there were no secrets like some of the others that have been found behind famous Picasso’s and others. What it did show was that the artists changed parts of his original design in order to get just the right look. Arms and legs, positioning have all been changed from an already finished painting to make things look more natural.
The scans also show more information about the type of paint and materials that were used to create the artwork. This is interesting because it gives researchers an idea about the types of materials that were available to artists previously. It also gives them clues as to how to best preserve and protect these masterpieces from cracking, fading and being lost to time. Macro x-ray fluorescence is very helpful in identifying several elements, but it is not able to identify everything nor is it able to detect elements with lead so there is still some scanning to be done in the end.