SCIENTISTS and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces, The Blue Room, using advances in infrared imagery to reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand.
Now the question conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he?
It is a mystery that is fuelling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso's career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period.
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Over the past five years, experts have developed a clearer image of the mystery picture under the surface which is a portrait of an unknown man painted in a vertical composition.
Patricia Favero, a conservator at The Phillips Collection who pieced together the infrared image of the man's face, said: "It's really one of those moments that really makes what you do special."