When bombarded with these high-energy X-rays, light is absorbed and emitted from different pigments in different ways. The scientists targeted four elements of the paint to fluoresce, including calcium, iron, mercury and lead, and got much better impressions of the hidden painting in the mock-up than they were able to before.
"The successful completion of these preliminary investigations on the mock-up painting was an important first step," Karen Trentelman, of the Getty Conservation Institute, said in a statement. "The results of these studies will enable us determine the best possible approach to employ in our planned upcoming study of the real Rembrandt painting."
This isn't the first time scientists have delved into Rembrandt's paintings. Previous research revealed why his art possesses such calming beauty, finding the artist may have pioneered a technique that guides the viewer's gaze around a portrait, creating a special narrative and "calmer" viewing experience. Essentially, the researchers found Rembrandt painted more detail in and around the eyes of his subjects, tapping into an innate human attraction to the face.T
This article originally appeared on LiveScience.com.
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