Layers upon Layers

A masterpiece within a masterpiece

A masterpiece within a masterpiece

All works of art are built from the works that have preceded them, in a series of creative reinterpretations that allow artists to explore new possibilities. As Core scholars, we are familiar with this flow of creation, but this week it took on a more literal meaning when the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam found a new Goya work hidden underneath one of the museum’s paintings. The museum used a new X-Ray technique on the painting that had revealed a hidden Van Gogh painting in 2008.

Art historians at the museum believe the “new” portrait may depict Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, who was established by Napoleon as king of Spain from 1808 to 1813. The scholars believe Goya may have covered up his original work and started a new portrait after Bonaparte’s regime fell and the political winds again favored the Spanish King Ferdinand VII.

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