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Hidden Picasso painting revealed behind 'The Blue Room'


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Hidden Picasso painting revealed behind 'The Blue Room'

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jun 18, 2014

The Phillips Collection in Washington has finally unveiled a mysterious painting hidden beneath a famed painting of Pablo Picasso's that first sparked suspicious interest in 1954. It took experts until 2008 for the hidden painting to be unmasked, and six additional years for it to be revealed to the public.

The hidden painting features a bearded man wearing a bowtie and dressed in a suit jacket. His face is shown resting on his hand with three rings on his fingers.

Picasso's "The Blue Room" is among his early art and was painted in 1901. "To find this painting underneath -- which we think was painted in the same year, just earlier in the year and it's completely different in style -- it gives us some insight into Picasso's development over the course of that year," Patricia Favero, associate conservator of the Phillips, tells CNN. The Phillips Collection acquired "The Blue Room" in 1927.

The first glimpse of the man underneath was discovered by the National Gallery of Art when "The Blue Room" was loaned to it in the '90s to X-ray.

"We've had infrared technology since the '50s or even before, and in the '90s we had fairly decent infrared technology, but the technology has certainly improved over the last 10 or more years," Favero further explains to CNN. "The technology had improved such by 2008 that in our small lab, here with our little camera, we were able to get the image that you see."

"The Blue Room" will tour South Korea until the beginning of 2015. The Phillips Collection intends on then featuring the masterpiece in an exhibition of its own in 2017.

The mystery man remains unidentified at this time.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.