Applications & Uses
Many famous paintings have under drawings or outlines drawn by the original artist as a guide. Art historians and conservators can use infrared photography to see beneath a painting’s surface and view detail that would otherwise remain forever unseen. This is not only helpful for recording history, but also for validating that works of art are authentic and to see if any changes were made by the artist before the final version was painted.
French impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting – Luncheon of the Boating Party – is one example of an artwork that was modified before the final version was painted. In his under drawing, Renoir depicted the man in the top hat looking in to the scene. However, after a personal argument, he was painted looking out of the scene in the artist’s final version. Without infrared photography, this important piece of art history would never have been known.