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Researchers used super-X-ray vision to peer beneath the surface of a portrait by impressionist Edgar Degas and gaze upon the model whose likeness he painted over nearly 140 years ago. The woman, whose image Degas turned upside down before using it as a base for a new painting, was probably Emma Dobigny – a favorite model of 19th-century French artists, the team announced. Using a technique called X-ray fluorescence, the team became the first people since Degas to gaze upon his model's face.Dobigny, whose real name was Marie Emma Thuilleux, modeled for Degas in 1869 and 1870 when she was about 16 .The researchers used the synchrotron to create 11 "maps" of the original canvas – each of a different metallic element in the pigments Degas used, including arsenic, copper, zinc, cobalt and mercury.In this case, comparing two portraits painted several years apart, showed Degas' "transformation of palette and technique".
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