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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Harvard’s Rothko murals to be seen in new light

The five multimillion-dollar murals by famed abstract expressionist Mark Rothko were so faded and damaged by sunlight that Harvard packed them away 35 years ago. Now, a revolutionary invention is being used to bring the original colors back to life, and in the process, sparking debate about artistic integrity.

The technique, developed by a team of conservators, curators, and scientists stretching from Cambridge to Switzerland, uses overhead projectors and special software to shine a precision-tinted light on the murals, correcting — pixel-by-pixel — the massive color loss in the murals.

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