Hidden Imagery

02021-09-01 | Art, Painting | 2 comments

Colossal has a post about the hidden image discovered in a restored Vermeer painting. It got me thinking about hidden art and an artist’s intention. It is cool if an artist hides an image inside his/her work, to be discovered eventually – or not. It could be a political statement, for example a portrait of a powerful monarch with an underpainting of some of their greatest failings, or a portrait of a smiling person with the hidden words “they never looked that happy in real life but I was paid well to make them look this way”.

In this case, however, that is not the case. Colossal writes that:

…it was assumed that Vermeer had altered the piece himself. Only after they performed a series of infrared reflectography imagings, microscopic analyses, and X-ray fluorescence examinations in 2017 did they realize that the Cupid was covered decades after the painter’s death, even though they still aren’t sure who marred the original piece or when.

What was the reason for this cover up? Did a new owner of the painting object to the nudity of the cupid? We may never know. What a story though!!

(((click on the image to see a larger version)))


  1. Nancy

    Are you familiar with Nick Bantock? He’s an artist and an author. His series Griffin & Sabine come to mind when you talk about hidden art. The series revolves around two artists — Griffin who lives in London and Sabine who lives on a tropical island. Sabine writes to Griffin, commenting on his art as if she is right in the same room watching him as he works. It’s unnerving and intrigues Griffin so a correspondence begins . The book is interactive in that there are envelopes that you open to read their correspondence back and forth. A bit voyeur in nature but you are drawn into their lives, their art and their relationship as it develops. A very clever concept.
    I was fortunate to listen to the author at a bookstore event and was amazed at his insights. A truly unique, creative, aware individual. I’m a big fan of his books which always includes his art. Maybe he’d be someone you might find interesting.

  2. Y.

    Vermeer’s paintings are a very good mystery. Seemingly simple study of a single subject in a painting. I watched the video of the restoration. Amazing and complex.


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