More than Meets the Eye
New Research on the Estorick Collection
23 September – 20 December 2015
This fascinating exhibition presents the findings of a group of specialist art historians, restorers and scientists who have examined key works from the Estorick’s permanent collection. Using the most up-to-date methods employed in the analysis of artworks, they have shed new light on the different techniques used by a number of painters, and in some cases have even revealed the presence of previously unknown images beneath, or on the back of, the Collection’s masterpieces.
This comprehensive campaign of non- invasive analysis has included multispectral high-resolution photography, large-format X-ray imaging and infrared reflectography. Such investigations have been combined with new archival research, enabling the team to reconstruct the history of works by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini from their creation up to the present day.
Major discoveries include a painting depicting bathing women on the rear of Ardengo Soffici’s Cubo-Futurist Deconstruction of the Planes of a Lamp, hidden by the complex framing system that has protected the work for decades. One of the most significant revelations of the show is the discovery of an entirely different work underneath Giacomo Balla’s 1912 masterpiece The Hand of the Violinist. Until now its existence has only been known of from contemporary photographs.
Offering intriguing new perspectives on iconic images, this multi-media exhibition also presents fascinating insights into ‘the science of art’. The analysis has been undertaken in the context of the project FUTURAHMA. From Futurism to Classicism (1910-1922): Painting Techniques, Art History and Material Analysis, and has been carried out by the University of Pisa, the CNR (National Research Centre) in Florence, Perugia and Milan, and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence.
Piero Pizzi Cannella
Continuing the series of ‘interventions’ by contemporary artists in response to the Collection, Piero Pizzi Cannella – one of Italy’s foremost living artists – will be juxtaposing a series of works against our permanent collection.