X-Ray scans unravel hidden lapdog in famed Picasso painting
Le Moulin de la Galette is one of ten pieces displayed at "Young Picasso in Paris" -- a global celebration to honor the 50th anniversary of the artist's death.
One of the most renowned paintings of Picasso’s early career initially included one more element that was masked until now: a cute lapdog seated by a table.
Le Moulin de la Galette (1900) is currently showcased in a small exhibition about Picasso’s younger days in Paris at the Guggenheim Museum, the New York institution that also owns the painting. The Guggenheim announced the finding of a canine in its press release. It is worth noting that the exhibition opened last Friday and runs through mid-August.
Conservators from the Guggenheim discovered the lapdog using X-ray fluorescence in collaboration with specialists from the neighboring Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., CNN reported. Thanks to the scans, the dog can now be seen clearly. A crimson ribbon around its neck suggests that it could be a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
Julie Barten, the senior paintings conservator at the Guggenheim, said, as quoted by CNN, “It was interesting to me that he hastily painted over this dog, which would have been a rather compelling aspect of the composition.”
Barten argued that Picasso removed the dog because the ribbon proved too “enticing", diverting the eye from the blurred dancers who move across the background.
The year the picture was created, dealer Berthe Weill sold it for 250 francs. The artwork's former owner's heirs filed a restitution lawsuit against the Guggenheim in 2007, alleging that the painting was sold under duress. The museum and heirs reached a settlement two years later.
Le Moulin de la Galette is one of ten pieces displayed at "Young Picasso in Paris," a celebration taking place throughout the world this year to honor the 50th anniversary of the artist's death.
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