Segments in this Video

National Gallery of Victoria (03:33)


Experts worried that Edgar Degas' "Portrait of a Woman" was a forgery after a ghostly form bled through. Michael Varcoe-Cocks explains there is another painting lying beneath the portrait; conventional imagery techniques failed to fully detect it. Frederick McCubbin's the "North Wind" drew criticism because it appeared the date and signature did not match the painting.

Technological Advances (04:16)

The Australian Synchrotron produces beams of energized ions brighter than the sun. Dr. Michael James leads Dr. Graham Philips on a tour of the facilities and describes how the particle accelerator creates x-ray fluorescence microscopy. Scientists describe how the machinery helped reveal paintings underneath paintings.

Maia Detector (04:40)

The detector sped up the x-ray fluorescence; the machinery records 1,000 times more detail than previously possible. Michael Varcoe-Cocks describes what the National Gallery of Victoria learned about the "North Wind."

Findings about Degas' Painting (03:31)

Daryl Howard reveals the image beneath "Portrait of a Woman." Experts theorize it is Emma Dobigny, one of Degas' favorite models.

Origins of Humanity (04:13)

A year ago, "Catalyst" traveled with Vanessa Hayes to genetically map three tribes in Namibia: a hunter/gathering tribe, a herder/gathering tribe that also herded livestock, and a farming/herding tribe. She hopes to define health and wellness.

Genetic Results (03:40)

Hayes studied blood samples from the tribes to discover the population's maternal genomes. There is no genetic linkage between the San and Khoi tribes. The San population dates back over 200,000 years.

Exploring the Genome Further (04:37)

Desmond Tutu's support helped open doors to the tribal populations. The Khoi and San tribes have a more diverse DNA code than a person who lives in Australia. Hayes hopes to work with Aboriginal people to determine whether the population has suitable medication.

Preview and Credits (00:43)

Watch a preview of the next episode of "Catalyst." (Credits)

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Degas / Out of Africa Revisit—Catalyst

Part of the Series : Catalyst
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



A ghostly form bleeds through a painting, and another that could be a forgery. The National Gallery of Victoria is literally lined with secrets. Early attempts at solving these mysteries gave only a glimpse of what lay beneath the brushstrokes. It would take over 80 years in the making and a giant leap in technology to uncover the hidden history. Catalyst goes behind the scenes at the National Gallery of Victoria to see how scientists from the Australian Synchrotron are revealing concealed gems with stunning clarity. In 2015, Catalyst took a remarkable road trip through Namibia in southern Africa, tracing the deepest roots of humanity’s family tree. From her mobile DNA lab, genomicist Professor Vanessa Hayes collected blood samples to search for the origins of modern society - the DNA evidence of when hunter-gatherers became farmers. We revisit this story to find out the results - what she discovered could rewrite human history.

Length: 30 minutes

Item#: BVL129500

ISBN: 978-1-64023-574-8

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.