X-rays in conservation
X-rays: electromagnetic radiation of short wavelength able to pass through opaque bodies
X-radiography is one technical examination method often used by conservators. The ability of X-rays to pass through materials of varying densities can reveal information hidden to the naked eye.
X-radiography was chosen primarily to check the condition of the original stretcher for Totem Lesson 2 before removing the canvas from it. The films revealed the siting and angle of the tacks as well as the extension of the mitre joins at the corners.
More excitingly, the X-rays show the dramatic changes that the artist made during the execution of the painting. Pollock painted large areas of detailed composition. He then blocked out the image using grey paint and added final touches to complete the work.
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