Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fragonard's Transformation of "Young Girl Reading"

And now for the big reveal . . . introducing Fragonard’s “Portrait of a Woman with a Book” (simulation)! Our researchers were able to establish that “Portrait of a Woman with a Book” existed as a “complete” painting for at least six months before it was changed into “Young Girl Reading.” The composition once showed a woman with her head turned outwards, looking at the spectator. She wore a large feathered headdress dotted with colored beads, a thinner neck ruffle than in the subsequent painting, and she was illuminated by a frontal light source. An amorphous folding shape in the background behind her was suggested to be a curtain on the basis of precedents in 17th- and 18th-century French portraiture. Read the full story of how we came to this discovery: This simulation, generated by cross-referencing various imaging techniques, was created by Gallery staffers Becca Goodman and Denis Doorly. Stay tuned as our three detectives Yuriko, John, and Michael continue their research on the series. Look for an upcoming talk at the Gallery in June! #ArtAtoZ #GirlReading
A photo posted by National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) on

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