Infrared Light Reveals Hidden Art

hidden art

What lies beneath the layers of famous paintings? Apparently…more paintings.  A novel technique has revealed never-before-seen details of hidden artworks within paintings around the world.  The method images the faint reflections of low-power infrared light – the invisible light waves typically associated with heat.  However, in contrast to existing infrared imaging, the technique deposits little heat in precious works.

The approach, called Thermal Quasi-Reflectography or TQR, is described in Optics Express.  It joins a host of light-based techniques that restoration experts have at their disposal to analyse and care for artworks.  At the high-energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum, X-rays can be used to not only see through layers of pigments but also to identify the very atoms used in them – a crucial step in determining the age or authenticity of some works.

Many painters throughout history have reused canvases either to save money or to cover up a work which they were dissatisfied with. Today scientists are using technology to uncover these hidden materpieces and discover never known before details. Take a look:

Hidden art in Picasso's

Picasso’s “Old Guitarist” hides a past life of a former painting.
The Art Institute of Chicago x-rayed the painting to reveal the menagerie image underneath of a woman, child and animals.

Hidden art in Lady with Unicorn

Much has been written about the symbolism of the tiny unicorn in Raphael’s Potrait of a Young Woman. However, x-rays of the painting show that the unicorn was originally a dog. In fact, Raphael likely painted the woman without anything in her hands at all — the dog and unicorn were likely added by other artists.

Hidden art in Goya's

A previously unknown painting by Francisco de Goya has been found hidden underneath one of his masterpieces, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has announced.  The unfinished work was discovered underneath Goya’s Portrait Of Don Ramon Satue.  It is thought to depict a French general, and may even portray Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Joseph.The Spanish master may have covered up the portrait for political reasons.  Joseph Bonaparte was briefly King Of Spain, from 1808-1813.  When the Napoleonic army was driven out and Ferdinand VII restored to the throne, Goya, who retained the painting, would have wanted to distance himself from the French regime.  The artist had served the French king and feared reprisals, despite receiving an official pardon and being reinstated as first court painter.

hidden art RembrandtStudies at the ESRF and at Brookhaven National Laboratory have helped to reveal a hidden painting, thought to be a self-portrait by Rembrandt, below an unknown painting entitled Old Man with a Beard.  X-rays reveal an unfinished self-portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn.


Latte Art That Will Perk You Up

latte art - Charlie Brown


Meet Japanese latte artist Kazuki Yamamoto.  The 26-year-old resident of Osaka creates ephemeral works of art in espresso and foam. From whimsical monsters crafted from milk froth to adorable homages to favorite childhood cartoon characters, Yamamoto’s art makes you regret the need to consume the canvas.

Latte Art Monster

Yamamoto has made a name for himself on Twitter, where more than 82,000 followers receive daily tweets with images of his latest creations.  Yamamoto does regular latte art updates, so if you like his creations, he’s definitely worth following: @george_10g

Scream Latte Art

Latte art started out in the 80’s and 90’s and was popularized by David Schomer, owner of Espresso Vivace in Seattle.  Schomer credits the development of microfoam to Jack Kelly of Uptown espresso in 1986, and by 1989 the heart pattern was established and a signature at Schomer’s Espresso Vivace. The rosette pattern was then developed by Schomer in 1992, recreating the technique based on a photograph he saw from Cafe Mateki in Italy.

Latte Art Rosetta

How to make your own Rosetta style latte art:

When you are ready to pour, hold the cup on a slight angle, with the back of the cup being raised up and the edge of the cup closest to you sitting slightly lower. This fans the coffee out in the cup and helps in the development of the leaves for our Rosetta.

Pour starting in the center of the coffee, especially for small cups. Just start pouring straight into the middle of the coffee. I like to keep the edge of the pitcher resting on the edge of the cup at this point.

With the cup about halfway to 3/4 full give the pitcher a little side to side shake and you should start to see the leaves of the penumbra begin to form.

Continue the shake, continuing to pour in the center of the coffee. The leaves should move away from you on the surface of the espresso. After about 4-6 shakes you will need to begin moving the pitcher back towards you, continuing to shake side to side with a little bit of a tighter oscillation.

This movement is slower than what many people attempt initially. Don’t get nervous and try to rush things. It won’t work. Slow, steady, almost “natural” slow beat metronome movements are your goal.

As you near the edge of the cup having created lots of leaves or delineations in the surface of the espresso you want to then draw through those leaves with the pour of the milk. Do this slowly, and also elevate your pour just a bit to keep the center stem slim and complimentary to the leaves.

Do it too quickly and it will pull the leaves up tight making your Rosetta look like a Christmas tree that hasn’t had its branches come down yet.

Last bit of advice: Practice, practice, practice.

Want to see more Latte Art? Check out this site dedicated to latte creations:


Museum Exhibition of the Week: Impressionists on the Water

Sailboats at Argenteuil by Impressionist Artist Monet

Exhibition: Impressionists on the Water

Location: Legion Of Honor – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Dates: June 1, 2013 – October 13, 2013


Coinciding with San Francisco’s hosting of the America’s Cup races this summer is the Legion of Honor’s newest exhibition: Impressionists on the Water.  Another side of nautical life is revealed by more than 80 remarkable paintings and works on paper by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro and Post-Impressionists such as Maurice Denis and Paul Signac—artists whose breathtaking artistry reflects their own deep understanding of pleasure boating and competition.

Paintings on loan from prestigious international collections, including the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and private collections will be joined by paintings and works on paper from the Fine Arts Museums’ own holdings.

Guest curators Christopher Lloyd, former keeper of Queen Elizabeth II’s collection; Phillip Dennis Cate, former director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; and renowned marine historian Daniel Charles will illuminate the personal interactions of leading French artists with yachting and, more broadly, underscore the important role that access to the sea and extensive inland waterways played in the development of the art, culture, and commerce of France.

Examination of the Impressionists’ engagement with boating as both pastime and artistic subject is at the heart of the exhibition. In the countryside west of Paris new patterns of life, including the idea of middle-class leisure, reflected the social and economic energies of an emerging modern world. Artistic innovations such as painting out of doors developed to capture the spirit and quick pace of recreational activities. The Impressionists’ brushwork suggests both the atmospheric effects and the sensations of movement that contribute to the invigorating experience of boating.


View our Impressionism Collection featuring masterworks by artists such as Gustave Caillebotte, Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh:

Banks of The Seine at Argenteuil by Impressionist Gustav Caillebotte



Map of the Week: Eagle Map of the United States, 1833

map of the week

Map of the Week: Eagle Map of the United States, 1833

By: Joseph & James Churchman

In 1833, The United States didn’t have an East Coast yet, for lack of a West Coast. The gigantic Louisiana Territory, acquired some 30 years earlier from the French, gave America dominion over the Mississippi basin, but Mexican land and the Oregon territory, claimed by Great Britain, still stood between the US and its ‘Manifest Destiny‘ – to stretch “from sea to shining sea”.

That’s a line from Katharine Lee Bates’ song ‘America the Beautiful‘, composed in 1893 when the west was won, mainly by the Mexican-American War of 1846-’48. It would be many decades before all the lands between Mississippi and Pacific would enter the Union as full-fledged states, but the iconic shape of America’s lower 48 states was there.

The map represents America as an eagle, with its head coinciding with New England (except Maine), its eye with Vermont, its neckline following Lakes Ontario and Erie, the wing outlines Lakes Huron and Superior.  The eagle’s breast follows the Atlantic seaboard, its talons form Florida – even though the claws protrude far from the coastline, and somewhat ominously, towards Cuba.

The real reason why this particular iconic representation of America’s national bird never caught on, is in the tail-feathers – shaped to follow a border no longer in existence by 1848. The western borders of the subsequent independent and later US state of Texas are recognizable, for now as the dividing line between the US and Mexico. The feathers follow the US inland border as it moves north, and disappears out of sight at the area disputed with Great Britain.  Meanwhile, the great inland empire of Louisiana is already being divided up into US states, with Louisiana and Missouri separated from the ‘mainland’ of the formerly French lands.

It is believed that Joseph Churchman authored the text and his brother, James Churchman, authored the map.  The engraving was done by Isaac W. Moore.  This map was published in Philadelphia in 1833 by Carey & Hart, in a now extremely rare atlas, the Rudiments of National Knowledge, Presented To The Youth of the United States, And To Inquiring Foreigners, By A Citizen Of Pennsylvania.

An image of this map was sent in by antique maps dealer Barry Ruderman, who recently put an original copy of the map up for sale. It’s yours for just under 20,000 dollars, indicating just how rare it is.  As noted by David Rumsey, “the ‘eagle’ map is most extraordinary and rare: it shows an eagle superimposed in engraving and color on the United States, with the Talons in Florida, the eye in Vermont, and the wings spreading west to the Missouri Territory. It is beautifully done.”

We have curated a collection of the highest quality maps available. Printed on archival matte paper or artist grade canvas, these maps will compliment any space; be it an office, bedroom, or library.  A large portion of our collection comes from David Rumsey, who holds one of the largest private map collections in the United States. Rumsey has been collecting and curating maps of North and South America since 1980, and is donating his collection to Stanford University over the next ten years. We are currently offering over 800 pieces of his 27,000 piece collection, and are adding more every day.

View our entire cartography collection:


Museum Exhibition of the Week: Coming to a Movie Theater Near You


Exhibition:  Exhibition

Location:  A Movie Theater Near You

Dates: Thursday, April 11th, Thursday, June 27th and Thursday, October 10th, 2013


Experience a global revolution of world class art, history and biography through the works of the greatest masters of our time.

EXHIBITION is a new theatrical series of events, bringing the world’s greatest art exhibitions to cinema screens worldwide. EXHIBITION will feature the world’s foremost upcoming art exhibitions, creatively captured especially for the big screen.

The EXHIBITION series begins with a career-encompassing collection of the works of Édouard Manet on exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, exhibited on April 11th in 50 theaters across the U.S. and about 600 around the globe. Second is a “once-in-a-lifetime” exhibition of the greatest number of Edvard Munch’s works ever, co-hosted by the National Museum and the Munch Museum in Oslo, exhibited on June 27th. The third exhibition screening, on Thursday, October 10th, comes from the National Gallery in London where audiences will see a unique perspective on the masterpieces of Johannes Vermeer.

Art historian Tim Marlow hosts each documentary that will feature exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, curator interviews, artist profiles and backstage tours, all for an average price of $12.50. “This is a way for an armchair traveler to come to the arts world, have it brought to them,” said Julie Borchard-Young, co-owner of BY Experience, the company distributing the broadcasts. “Because it’s not live, we wanted to make sure that the programs are very immersive and contemplative, that the viewer has a chance to slow down his or her busy life and really take this in.”

Find a showing near you:!exhibition-great-art-on-screen


Click on one of the images below to view our Edvard Munch and Johannes Vermeer collection:







Food as Art at the San Francisco Museum of Art

Food Art

The pastry chefs at Blue Bottle Coffee Bar at the San Francisco Museum of Art say it’s the art around them that inspired a range of dishes that look like, well, art.

Caitlin Freeman and her team have created a menu that includes dishes that look like famous pantings, including works by Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Damien Hirst. Freeman is also the author of Modern Art Desserts, a cookbook that’s set to hit shelves on April 16.

Since 2008, Caitlin Freeman has been the resident pastry maestro at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Blue Bottle rooftop cafe, where visitors can treat themselves to their very own piece of, say, Warhol or Kahlo—and devour it. There, the self-trained pastry chef turns out exquisitely made desserts replicating some of the museum’s iconic artworks, which have arguable become iconic works of art on their own, most especially her oft-photographed Mondrian cake, a layered construction of vanilla and red velvet cake with chocolate ganache.

What one-time visitors may not know about the cafe’s offerings is that they’re constantly being updated and rotated to feature different pieces from the galleries below. The newest additions to the lineup include a Donald Judd–inspired tomato soup with a saffron cracker-ring, as well as a layered lemon cake that pays homage to Damien Hirst’s “Amylamine.”

For a behind-the-scenes the scenes tour of how Freeman actually constructs her confections, her book, Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, goes on sale next month. Til then, check out some of the cafe’s latest “installations” and their originals below.


A layered cracker and cheese plate, inspired by Josef Albers’ “Homage to the Square” series: buttermilk crackers, cheddar cheese, a parmesan-cream wafer and goat gouda.

food artToast and jam, inspired by Mark Rothko’s “No. 14, 1960:” Acme bread, apricot butter and wild blueberry artLayered cake inspired by Damien Hirst’s “Amylamine:” lemon velvet cake with white chocolate ganache, cream cheese frosting and edible confetti.


food artTomato soup with a saffron cracker, inspired by Donald Judd’s “Untitled.”

food artA layered cracker and cheese plate, inspired by Josef Albers’ “Homage to the Square” series: buttermilk crackers, cheddar cheese, a parmesan-cream wafer and goat gouda.

SFMOMA website:

Blue Bottle Coffee Bar:


Map of the Week:

Map of the week


Map of the Week: Texas and Mexico, Houston and Texas Central Railways, 1885

By: Houston and Texas Railway

The charter for the Galveston and Red River Railway was obtained by Ebenezer Allen of Galveston on March 11, 1848. However, the company did not become active until 1852, when, after a series of meetings at Chappell Hill and Houston, the charter was made available for the proposed railroad from Houston to the Brazos River and the interior of Texas.

Track laying began in early 1856, and the rails reached Cypress City, the twenty-five-mile point, on July 26, 1856. On September 1, 1856, the company was renamed Houston and Texas Central Railway Company. By April 22, 1861, the railroad was open eighty-one miles to Millican, but the Civil War prevented any additional construction until 1867. The H&TC reached Corsicana in 1871, Dallas in 1872, and Red River City in 1873. At Red River City connection was made with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad to form the first all-rail route from Texas to St. Louis and the East.

In 1867 the H&TC acquired the Washington County Railroad, which had completed a line between Hempstead and Brenham in April 1861. This line was extended to Austin, where the final spike was driven on Christmas Day, 1871. The H&TC also acquired the Waco and Northwestern, formerly the Waco Tap, and completed the line between Bremond and Waco in 1872.

Other railroads subsequently merged into the H&TC include the Austin and Northwestern, Central Texas and Northwestern, Fort Worth and New Orleans, Hearne and Brazos Valley, and Houston Railway. Major new construction after 1900 included the Mexia-Nelleva cutoff from a point near Navasota to Mexia, which was completed in 1907, and the extension from Giddings to Stone City in 1913, which completed the Dalsa cutoff and shortened the route between San Antonio and Dallas by 140 miles.

The H&TC was sold to Charles Morganqv in March 1877 and came under Southern Pacific control. However, the H&TC continued to be operated by its own organization until 1927, when it was leased to the Texas and New Orleans. At the time of the lease the H&TC operated 872 miles of track. It merged with the T&NO in 1934. The rest of the railroad was narrowed in three stages: Corsicana to Hearne in 1874, Hearne to Houston in 1876, and the Austin line in March 1877.

The company also became one of the first in Texas to use oil as a locomotive fuel when it began experimenting with oil-fired locomotives in early 1901. Significant portions of the former H&TC have been abandoned or sold. In 1933 the Mexia-Nelleva cutoff was abandoned. Later abandonments included the line between Bremond and Waco (1967), the track between Hempstead and Brenham (1961–62), and the track between Brenham and Giddings (1979). On August 19, 1986, the line from Giddings through Austin to Llano was sold to the city of Austin. Lines still operated by the Southern Pacific in 1988 included Houston to Denison, Ennis to Fort Worth, and Hearne to Giddings.

Map of the weekSource: Texas State Historical Association

To read more on abandoned rails in Texas:

Global Gallery April Art Giveaway

Congratulations to our April Art Giveaway winner Lynn S.!

Art Giveaway Farmer's Garden

“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist which alone is significant,
they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.”
– Gustav Klimt

Retail Price: $144.99
Image Size: 22 x 22 in.
Canvas Stretch: Deep Bars, Gallery Wrap

Free art is good for you!

Contest ends 4/30/13, 11:59 p.m..

In the event that your submission is drawn and you are the April giveaway winner, we need the physical address to which you would like the art to be shipped.

You may leave the address fields blank if you prefer to be contacted once you are the confirmed giveaway winner.

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  • One entry per customer. Offer not valid for cash or cash equivalent.