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article imageX-rays discover secret behind Rembrandt painting

By Tim Sandle     Feb 19, 2014 in Entertainment
Lead paint under the surface of a painting by Rembrandt gives away artist’s indecisiveness. This was shown by directing a powerful new X-ray at the prized artwork.
An examination of Rembrandt’s 1662 “Syndics of the Drapers' Guild”, using an intense X-ray beam, has revealed hat the artist painted the same face in four locations on one canvas before settling on one spot and covering up the rest. This provides a fascinating insight into the way that the Dutch genius worked.
The oil painting "Syndics of the Drapers' Guild" (sometimes called "The Sampling Officials") is a 1662 oil painting by Rembrandt. It is currently owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Those who partake in certain tobacco products will also have seen the painting on the packaging of Dutch Masters cigars.
In the painting, there are six men. The men (with the exception of Bel who is an attendant as indicated by his calotte) are drapers who were elected to assess the quality of cloth that weavers offered for sale to members of their guild.
The Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers  Guild  known as the ‘Sampling Officials’. Painted by Rembr...
The Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild, known as the ‘Sampling Officials’. Painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.
With the recent X-ray examination, chemist Joris Dik of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands examined the piece for cryptic features using a portable, high-powered tube that shoots a beam of X-rays into the painting’s canvas. The technique identifies materials at the surface and in the subsurface of the painting.
Dik reported to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that just micrometers under the surface, buried layers of white lead paint outlined three additional iterations of the servant’s face in various locations.
Even geniuses make mistakes.
More about Rembrandt painting, rembrandt, Paint, Lead paint
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