Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Bank of America - Merril Lynch
The analyses performed by X-ray have allowed us to discover the lengthy process by which the canvas was created and determine its current condition. The resulting X-ray reveals every layer of the work, from the stretcher to the paint. The image has darker areas where the X-rays pass through the picture more easily and vice versa, depending on the composition and thickness of the materials.

In this X-ray detail we see the backlit figure of an archangel facing away from the observer with a dark horizontal line stretching across it; this line is the seam where two pieces of canvas were stitched together, and it presents several lacunae.

On a dark ground, the artist used a brush to create a loose underdrawing with a white substance that is fairly opaque to X-rays. He then applied a large amount of light-coloured paint to the brightest areas of the composition and created “negative spaces” with less matter in the areas of shadow.

We can also admire the modifications which the artist made while working on the piece which have since been hidden from view, such as the nude figure in this close-up which was later “dressed” by painting garments onto the body. The thin dark lines are cracks in the paint caused by the movement of the support over time.

At the bottom of the X-ray image we see an inscription that reads “ARCHANGEL” that Tintoretto later painted over.