STAFF restoring one of Picasso’s oldest works have discovered an even earlier portrait hidden on its backing card.

Workers at Barcelona’s Picasso Museum removed the cardboard behind Portrait of the Artists Mother, printed by a 15-year-old Picasso, to find a charcoal drawing of a man with a pipe.

Head of restoration at the museum, Reyes Jimenez, believes the newly discovered charcoal to be older than the 1896 Portrait of the Artists Mother.

“If it were the other way round, he would have destroyed the pastel drawing at the time of producing it,” she said.

Jimenez also stated the piece highlights the artist’s use of difficult techniques from an early age.

“His level of knowledge was greater than we thought it was,” she added.

In 1970 Picasso donated 921 of his earliest works to the museum.

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