(CNN) — It took years and a good bit of detective work by art experts and scientists to unveil a painting hidden underneath Pablo Picasso’s 1901 masterpiece “The Blue Room.”
Using infrared technology, experts at The Phillips Collection in Washington discovered a portrait of a bearded man wearing a jacket and a bow tie, his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers.
Curators and conservators there have been working with a team of experts from the National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and the Winterthur Museum in Delaware to analyze the painting and try to identify the mystery man in the work.
“This painting ‘The Blue Room’ is very important in (Picasso’s) early work. It’s considered an early Blue Period painting,” Patricia Favero, associate conservator at the Phillips, said of the period early in the artist’s career when he produced often melancholy, mostly monochromatic paintings in shades of blue. “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.”
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