Trace Mayer Antiques

Friday, October 3, 2014

When the Walls Speak

 Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, 
discovered by French scientist Pascal Cotte. Photograph: Lumiere Technology

I hear many phrases over and again in an art gallery.  Sparing you the more basic ones-  'If this piece could talk' is one I enjoy.  A variation on if these walls could speak... What if they could talk?  What if Hemingway's typewriter still holds hidden information.  Or if Gandhi's glasses still keep the memory of what they reflected.  Does the mythical spear head remember Achilles heel?  One of the joys of dealing with Art and Antiques is that among other things they are also historic documents.  They are cultural reflections, and they are fully imbedded in the society and culture in which they were originally created.

They may not be able to tell you the conversations they witnessed, or the events that took place in their presence, the plotting, intrigue, love, drama, or even just rudimentary events that swirled around them; however, a discovery by Pascal Cotte has helped to unveil the process by which they were created. 

This technology pioneered in France, called the LAM (layered amplification method) does just that.  It is able to record, analyze, and display each layer of paint on a canvas in the order in which it was painted.  In the photographs above you can see the evolution of da Vinci's painting of Cecelia Gallerani.  It reveals the process, evolution, and decisions the master made in this creation- and appears to do so without harming the painting.  I look forward to the revelations this technology will reveal- and hope that Apple will create an app for us all to use.