Scientists digitally reconstruct Renoir portrait
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent and i. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; four times highly commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigations into the tobacco industry. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Science Editor in Chicago
Thursday 13 February 2014
Scientists have made a digital reconstruction of a Renoir portrait with its original colours as they would have looked to the artist when he finished the painting in 1883, before the red pigment he used had faded due to its sensitivity to light.
The original portrait of Madame Leon Clapisson has faded significantly over the past 130 years but the original colour of the reddish background had been preserved under the frame of the painting, said Richard Van Duyne of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ilinois.
Using a technique called ramen spectroscopy, Dr Van Duyne was able to analyse the molecular make-up of the pigments used in the painting and make comparisons between the exposed and unexposed parts of the portrait to make a full-sized digital reconstruction.
“It makes good sense to understand what the original colour was rather than to change the artist’s hand,” Dr Van Duyne told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.
The analysis showed that Renoir used a brilliant pigment called carmine lake, which is composed of organic molecules and is extremely sensitive to light. The analysis is one of several on the chemical make-up of artworks, including one showing that Picasso used ordinary house paint in some of his paintings.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Jeremy Clarkson to host BBC's Have I Got News For You despite Top Gear exit
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'