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Hidden in a Picasso Blue Period Painting

 

 

An international partnership of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS), the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, has used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso’s painting “La Miséreuse accroupie” (The Crouching Woman), a major work from the artist’s Blue Period. The 1902 oil painting, owned by the AGO in Toronto, Canada, depicts a crouching and cloaked woman, painted in white, blues, grays and greens.

 

With knowledge of an underlying landscape revealed long ago by X-ray radiography at the AGO, researchers used non-invasive portable imaging techniques, including infrared reflectance hyperspectral imaging adapted by the National Gallery of Art and then an X-ray fluorescence imaging instrument developed at Northwestern, to detail buried images connected to other works by Picasso — including a watercolor recently sold at auction — as well as the presence of a landscape likely by another Barcelona painter underneath “La Miséreuse accroupie.”

 

Picasso painted over another painter’s work after rotating it 90 degrees to the right, using some of the landscape forms in his own final composition of “La Miséreuse accroupie.” Picasso incorporated the lines of the cliff edges into the woman’s back, for example. Picasso also made a major compositional change, the researchers report. The artist initially painted the woman with a right arm and hand holding a disk but then covered them with her cloak in the final work.

 

By closely observing “La Miséreuse accroupie,” AGO had observed distinct textures and contrasting underlying color that peeked through the crack lines and did not match the visible composition. X-ray radiography was the first non-invasive tool used to uncover hidden information in “La Miséreuse accroupie;” it revealed a horizontal landscape by a different Barcelona painter, whose identity remains unknown, under the visible surface of Picasso’s painting.

 

For a more detailed understanding of the repositioned arm, NU-ACCESS scientists next investigated the painting using images generated by their X-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanner. The NU-ACCESS team traveled twice to the AGO in Canada with their portable tools for the study.

 

This system produces grayscale images showing the distribution of elements associated with various pigments of the painting. The scientists were able to analyze 70 percent of the painting in 24 hours. Together with micro-samples extracted from strategic locations, the XRF results, along with further images generated by Delaney from the hyperspectral reflectance, reveal the steps of creation taken by Picasso.

 

The iron- and chromium-based pigments of the surface layer correlated with the painting’s current structure and its palette of mostly blues (painted with the iron-based Prussian blue and with ultramarine, Picasso’s Blue Period blue of choice) and yellow-greens (painted with chromium-based yellows). The elemental maps of cadmium- and lead-based pigments, however, revealed the presence of the woman’s right arm and hand beneath the visible surface.

 

Questions raised by this research on Picasso’s influence and style during his Blue Period will be further explored in a Picasso Blue Period exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in 2020 through 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

source: northwestern

Sleeping with Masterpieces

 

Founded in 1824 and housing over 2300 pieces of art dating from the mid-13th century to the 1900s, The National Gallery showcases paintings by the world’s greatest masters, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh.

 

In an exclusive collaboration, The National Gallery and Savoir Beds and have joined forces to deliver an inspiring approach that takes art in interiors to another level. Once commissioned, the design is specially printed in the UK on a selection of three fabrics – lustrous velvet, textured linen viscose and versatile cotton. Finished with a bespoke plaque detailing the portrait and artist, every commission will be personally approved by The National Gallery to guarantee the design preserves the essence and integrity of one of the greatest art institutes in the world.

 

 

 

sources: nationalgallery, avoirbeds, wikipedia

3D-Printed Concrete Dome for Mars

 

NASA has named Northwestern University and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) as one of the five leading teams in the latest phase of the 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge competition. Launched in 2014, the competition invited 18 research teams from around the world to design autonomously constructed habitats that have the potential to support human life on Mars and the Moon.

 

The Northwestern University/SOM concept—led by Northwestern, with SOM providing support on engineering and design—includes a 3D-printed concrete dome designed to be manufactured and printed on Mars. The printed material acts as a shell when completed, protecting inhabitants from solar radiation, wind-borne debris, and meteorite impacts. The material is placed over an inflatable formwork system that doubles as a pressure vessel simulating Earth’s atmosphere. The structure also incorporates modular connection points with entry airlocks suited for colony expansion.

 

Northwestern University will continue to lead the next phase of the competition, which will focus on 3D prints of the foundation and wall elements for the dome structure. Deadlines and milestones will be announced by NASA in the coming months.

 

 

 

sources: northwestern, som

Illuminating the Carolinas

 

 

Light sculptures of Butterflies, Deer, and Venus Fly Traps are illuminatomg Brookgreen’s Summer Lights Festival. Located south of Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens is the floral jewel of South Carolina’s coastal community. The 9,127-acre property preserves the natural and cultivated landscape of this historic site.

 

The lighting festival takes place within Brookgreen Gardens at their Lowcountry Zoo where guests have the opportunity to see native animals in areas maintained as close as possible to their natural habitats as possible. The festival closes August 19.

 

 

 

sources: brookgreen, aldahazel, southstrandnews

Cell-Sized Robots

 

Researchers at MIT have created what may be the smallest robots yet that can sense their environment, store data, and even carry out computational tasks. These devices, which are about the size of a human egg cell, consist of tiny electronic circuits made of two-dimensional materials, piggybacking on minuscule particles called colloids.

 

Colloids, which insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across, are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. By coupling these tiny objects to complex circuitry, the researchers hope to lay the groundwork for devices that could be dispersed to carry out diagnostic journeys through anything from the human digestive system to oil and gas pipelines, or perhaps to waft through air to measure compounds inside a chemical processor or refinery.

 

Tiny robots made by the MIT team are self-powered, requiring no external power source or even internal batteries. A simple photodiode provides the trickle of electricity that the tiny robots’ circuits require to power their computation and memory circuits. That’s enough to let them sense information about their environment, store those data in their memory, and then later have the data read out after accomplishing their mission.

 

Such devices could ultimately be a boon for the oil and gas industry, Currently, the main way of checking for leaks or other issues in pipelines is to have a crew physically drive along the pipe and inspect it with expensive instruments. In principle, the new devices could be inserted into one end of the pipeline, carried along with the flow, and then removed at the other end, providing a record of the conditions they encountered along the way, including the presence of contaminants that could indicate the location of problem areas. Similarly, such particles could potentially be used for diagnostic purposes in the body, for example to pass through the digestive tract searching for signs of inflammation or other disease indicators.

 

source: MIT

Glowing Plants?

 

MIT engineers have developed a method to illuminate plants. By embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, they induced the plants to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimization, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace.

 

“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp — a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself,” says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the study.

 

This technology could also be used to provide low-intensity indoor lighting, or to transform trees into self-powered streetlights, the researchers say. The group’s goal is to engineer plants to take over many of the functions now performed by electrical devices. The researchers have previously designed plants that can detect explosives and communicate that information to a smartphone, as well as plants that can monitor drought conditions.

 

source: MIT

Magical Lights in Ghent

 

Every three years, the charming Belgium city of Ghent is set ablaze with lights during the Ghent Light Festival. The recent 2018 edition brought in nearly one million attendees to experience the works of light artists from across the globe. Over five days, the city’s nights became the backdrop for a surprising spectacle, ingenious installations, spectacular performances and beautiful events, all based on light. This dazzling festival wraps the entire city in brilliant hues of iridescent colors, including the city’s cathedral with more than 55,000 LEDs.

 

 

 

source: visit.gent.be

 

 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in an Interactive Experience

 

Innovative technology companies have joined together with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to bring Wright’s vision to the world. Through the combination of a powerful 3D imaging laser scanner, sophisticated documentation and an immersive media platform, anybody anywhere can now experience the work of the master architect.

 

True to Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision, this immersive experience represents a new way for the world to access, preserve, and think about design and organic architecture. Roam the property and go inside Taliesin West through this immersive experience that provides a deeper understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy on organic architecture and how it comes to life in the design and structure of his winter home and studio. Experience Wright’s usage of compression and release as you enter the living room. Go to the land bridge and view the desert landscape. Take in the structural desert masonry as you wander the hallways and pass unique elements such as the light fixtures and furniture, most of which were designed by Wright himself. Take a walk through on your own: http://franklloydwright.org/3dlab/

 

source: franklloydwright.org

Robotically Fabricated Exhibition Hall

 

The Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall is an architectural prototype building and a showcase for the current developments in computational design and robotic fabrication for lightweight timber construction. Funded by the European Union and the state of Baden-Württemberg, the building is the first to have its primary structure entirely made of robotically prefabricated beech plywood plates. This newly developed timber plate construction is made possible through integrative computational design, simulation, fabrication and surveying methods resulting not only in a highly performative and resource efficient plate shell structure but also in innovative architecture.

 

 

 

source: ICD Institute

The Printing of Shape-Shifting Objects

 

A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and two other institutions has developed a new 3-D printing method to create objects that can permanently transform into a range of different shapes in response to heat. The team, which included researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, created the objects by printing layers of shape memory polymers with each layer designed to respond differently when exposed to heat.

 

Their development of the new 3-D printed objects follows earlier work the team had done using smart shape memory polymers (SMPs), which have the ability to remember one shape and change to another programmed shape when uniform heat is applied, to make objects that could fold themselves along hinges.

 

To demonstrate the capabilities of the new process, the team fabricated several objects that could bend or expand quickly when immersed in hot water – including a model of a flower whose petals bend like a real daisy responding to sunlight and a lattice-shaped object that could expand by nearly eight times its original size.

 

The new 4-D objects could enable a range of new product features, such as allowing products that could be stacked flat or rolled for shipping and then expanded once in use, the researchers said. Eventually, the technology could enable components that could respond to stimuli such as temperature, moisture or light in a way that is precisely timed to create space structures, deployable medical devices, robots, toys and range of other structures.

 

 

source: Georgia Tech