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The wreck sleeps in darkness, a puzzlement of corroded steel strewn across a thousand acres of the North Atlantic seabed. Fungi feed on it. Weird colorless life-forms, unfazed by the crushing pressure, prowl its jagged ramparts. From time to time, beginning with the discovery of the wreck in 1985 by Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel, a robot or a manned submersible has swept over Titanic ’s gloomy facets, pinged a sonar beam in its direction, taken some images—and left. In recent years explorers like James Cameron and Paul-Henry Nargeolet have brought back increasingly vivid pictures of the wreck.
When art historians and curators study a work of art, they begin with a thorough visual examination to determine both the artist’s original technique and the condition of a painting. Through careful attention to detail, art historians discover important details such as the revealing patterns of craquelure, the superposition of the paint layers, and the location of retouches and restorations. Digging deeper through the use of microscopes enables experts to verify the authenticity of a painting and its signature. Grazing light Experts use grazing light to examine paintings in the visible spectrum.