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Art Institute of Chicago via Youtube
Art Institute of Chicago via Youtube

Analysis Reveals Lost Colors in Van Gogh's 'The Bedroom'

Art Institute of Chicago via Youtube
Art Institute of Chicago via Youtube

A version of Vincent van Gogh's The Bedroom (1888-1889) currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago looks a little different from the painting we're all familiar with. Instead of powder blue walls and a greenish-brown floor, the room has been updated with lavender walls and a red floor. This is no mistake. According to new forensic analysis reported by Science News, these were the shades originally chosen by van Gogh himself.

Art experts have long known that The Bedroom isn't the same painting it once appeared to be. In 1888, van Gogh described it in a letter to his brother Theo, saying, “The walls are of a pale violet. The floor—is of red tiles.” Those exact pigments have since vanished after more than a century of fading, but conservation scientists at the Art Institute of Chicago set out to prove they weren't lost for good.

Using a macro x-ray fluorescence scanner, Francesca Casadio and her colleagues were able to determine the elements and minerals in the paint. They also used a process called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy that makes molecules vibrate in a distinct way under laser light. But their biggest breakthrough came from something surprisingly simple: After flipping over a tiny sample of the painting under a microscope, a blue paint chip was revealed to be pale purple on the underside.

Art Institute of Chicago via YouTube

Their analysis also uncovered the order in which van Gogh painted his different versions of The Bedroom, of which there are three. The painting usually displayed in Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum was done first, Chicago's piece was second, and the painting normally found in Paris was finished third.

Instead of restoring their piece with the intended colors, the Art Institute of Chicago will display a digital recolorization, along with the original three pieces from now through May 10. This digital route is a novel one for restoring van Gogh's paintings to their original hues—it was recently announced that conservators at the Van Gogh Museum are considering removing the varnish from Sunflowers (1889) to better showcase the painting's original coloring.

The Bedroom via Wikimedia Commons
Recolorized version // Art Institute of Chicago via YouTube

[h/t Science News]

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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iStock

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
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

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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