Presenting the findings of a group of specialist art historians, restorers and scientists who have examined key works from the Estorick's collection.
The project saw works by Giorgio de Chirico, Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini, Carlo Carrà and Ardengo Soffici put through rigorous investigation using the most up-to-date methods in art analysis. As a result, the researchers were able to uncover previously unknown features of many of the most famous paintings in the modern Italian collection.
By looking into the supports and preparatory layers the team could reconstruct the history of the creation, purchase and exhibition of the masterpieces. They used a combination of imaging techniques, including spectroscopic analysis, multispectral high-resolution photography, large-format X-ray imaging, multispectral infrared reflectography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM). In one case a C-14 (carbon dating) investigation was used to ascertain the date of organic material.
The display presents the paintings – in some cases removed from their frames – alongside backlit X-ray plates and high resolution photographs of the works, allowing them to be seen as if from under a microscope.