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Guernica checked for wear and tear

Pablo Picasso's Guernica, one of the world's most famous paintings, is getting a full health check as it marks its 75th anniversary.

A giant robotic machine is taking tens of thousands of microscopic shots of the black-and-white anti-war masterpiece to allow experts to penetrate the work like never before and see its real condition after a hectic life travelling the globe.

Madrid's Reina Sofia museum - where Guernica is housed - has teamed up with Spanish telecommunication company Telefonica to develop the technology, which uses advanced infrared and ultraviolet photography.

The machine was built so that Guernica does not have to make the risky move to a conservation laboratory, where normally such investigative work would be done.

"The painting is in delicate condition given that it has suffered a lot of movement and many alterations," said Jorge Garcia Gomez-Tejedor, the museum's head of conservation.

"You could compare it to a major medical check-up in the sense that it needs to be constantly monitored and watched over."

Every night after the museum shuts its doors - and on Tuesdays when the museum is closed - Pablito as the robotic mechanism has been dubbed, is dragged out and placed roughly a metre from the painting.

Throughout the night the tall structure weighing 1.5 tons painstakingly scans the masterpiece, slowly compiling photographic DNA.

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