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AI Helps Resurrect Picasso’s lost artwork, Controversy Ensues

by Team IA, November 6, 2021

Last month, on display at the Deep AI Art Fair in London, was an artwork called ‘The Lonesome Crouching Nude’, lost for almost 118 years (since it was concealed) and recreated as a 3D print on Canvas. The nude portrait of a crouching woman, lay under the surface of what was a Pablo Picasso painting. This portrait was brought to the fore using the might of artificial intelligence, advanced imaging technology as well as 3D printing. Oxia Palus, a company that uses technology to resurrect lost art, was behind this recreation. Picasso appeared to have painted his own work The Blind Man’s Meal (1903) over this nude which was partially revealed by a superimposed X-ray fluorescence (XRF) image. To bring the hidden work to life, the help of XRF imaging and image processing was taken and an outline of the hidden painting was revealed. AI was later deployed to add Picasso-like brushstrokes to the portrait.

A heightmap of the portrait was generated to render texture, and the image was printed on canvas using 3D. In a statement, Oxia Palus said, “At the time that Picasso painted The Blind Man’s Meal he was poor and artist materials were expensive, so we have suggested that it is possible he painted over the former work with reluctance. The fact that the woman within The Lonesome Crouching Nude is also within Picasso’s 1903 La Vie and a few of Picasso’s sketches suggests that Picasso may have had an affinity towards this woman.”

While the debate around AI’s work being called art ensures, Oxia Palus was served a Cease and Desist order by Head of Legal at the Picasso Association, to which they replied, “We have not claimed to have recreated an actual work by Pablo Picasso. We have created a possible reconstruction of the piece hidden beneath Picasso’s 1903 The Blind Man’s Meal, which we have titled The Lonesome Crouching Nude. We hoped this piece would be of interest to art scholars and would excite the public about the future of art.”

“There is great academic and public interest in lost artwork hidden beneath paintings. Reconstructing past art by combining the tools of artificial intelligence, spectroscopy, and 3D printing, could deepen our understanding of the history of art. Our vision is to bring to life an artist’s parallel universe that humanity has been deprived of. With potentially thousands of works of art hidden dormant beneath existing paintings the journey in resurrecting and understanding the world’s lost art has only just begun,” the statement said.

If you want to know more about how AI is helping saving the art world, write to at contactus@infiniteanalytics.com and do subscribe to our newsletter

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