Employees of University College London, with the participation of the artist Jesper Eriksson, restored the canvas of Vincent van Gogh, painted over 135 years ago. The painting is called «Two Wrestlers» and dates from around 1886.

The researchers used a technology to recreate the lost works, which uses X-rays. It allows you to disassemble each layer of paint. Next comes the neural network, which restores the artist’s handwriting, and the 3D printing technology that creates the finished canvas completes everything. This system is at the heart of the researchers’ NeoMasters project, which has been in existence since 2019 and helps to restore lost works of art.

What «Two Wrestlers» might look like. Image: University College London

According to experts, the reconstruction of the painting is difficult to assess, but «Two Wrestlers» took everything possible from existing technologies, and the canvas turned out to be «convincing».

The canvas depicts two men stripped to the waist. The existence of this canvas became known in 2012, when Belgian art historians examined Van Gogh’s painting «Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses» for authenticity. X-ray analysis showed that two human silhouettes were visible under the layers of paint.

Image: University College London

Confirmation of the originality of the canvas was one of the author’s letters to his brother, in which he spoke about the «Two Fighters». In addition, on the painting course at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp, where Van Gogh studied in 1886, more than once he had to depict two half-naked silhouettes in a similar position.

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