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X-Rays Help Find Two Van Gogh Paintings

For years, art historians debated on whether or not the painting above, entitled Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses, was the work of famed impressionist Van Gogh. Given that the size of the canvas and the gaudy palate of the flowers didn't seem to match up with the master's usual style, the Kröller-Müller Museum, which obtained the painting in 1974, finally declared it to be painted by an anonymous artist in 2003.

But a recent X-ray of the painting revealed that not only was it a Van Gogh, but it also held the secret to a lost painting by the artist that historians had been after for years. In 1885, Vincent wrote a letter to his brother mentioning a painting of two wrestlers he created as an art school homework assignment, so while everyone knew this painting existed, no one had ever seen it — at least, until this X-ray of Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses was released:

That's the X-ray/ultraviolet composite image above showing that the painting of the two wrestlers had been hiding in plain sight underneath a work that no one was sure was even a Van Gogh in the first place. The revelation also answered questions about why the floral painting was so drastically different from his other works. As New Scientist puts it:

The fact that the wrestlers were a homework assignment explains the floral painting's oddities: the canvas was unusually large because that was the school's standard, and the flowers in the foreground were so ostentatious because they had to cover an entire half-naked boy.

It makes you wonder how many other museum paintings are hiding other great works of art beneath their surfaces.

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
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Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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