X-rays have a ghostly quality – they’re white whispers on black, usually shouldering some hidden revelation about what’s going on inside. Artist David Maisel’s photographs of x-rays of ancient art in his “History’s Shadow” project delightfully plays with our senses, letting us see objects that have become the backdrop of our culture in an entirely new way.
In order to stay fresh and interested in the marvels of our world, we have to keep pricking our dull senses, dusting off our sense of wonder.
The practical reason these x-rays exist is for preservation and restoration – to find cracks and other flaws or fragilities the eye may not detect in a treasured object.
The x-rays Maisel uses are from the archives of Getty Museum and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He’s released a beautiful hardcover book of over 75 of these images.