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Examining the Painting

Above: Raking light detail from The Tragedy, showing impasto discernible under final image
Above Right: Detail from The Tragedy, showing yellow and orange paint of an earlier composition beneath brush strokes of blue paint used for the final image

Visual Clues
When Picasso's The Tragedy, painted in Barcelona in 1903, was examined in the conservation studio, two visual clues suggested the existence of changes or another painting beneath the three solemn figures on the beach. First, raking light defined an area of impasto that cuts across the horizontal part of the man's folded right arm, bearing no relation to the drape of his garment.

Second, vivid yellow and orange tones without a visual connection to the monochromatic blue of the final painting could be seen in areas of minor abrasion and through cracks and brush strokes in the top layer of paint.






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