(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers found that the portrait of Vincent van Gogh was hidden under a layer of glue and cardboard for more than a century. It was found thanks to modern technology.
Van Gogh often used this trick, but this portrait may be unique because the artist still has an ear on it.
The press service of the National Gallery of Scotland released a statement saying that x-rays of Van Gogh’s 1885 painting “Head of a Peasant Woman” showed that there is a hidden self-portrait of the artist on the back of the work.
This trick Van Gogh used to save money on canvas and supplies. The painting clearly shows his left ear, which is remarkable given that he cut off that ear in 1888.
Ghost portrait of Van Gogh
“Moments like this are incredibly rare,” Professor Francis Fowl, senior curator at the National Gallery of Scotland’s Gallery of French Art, said in a statement.
We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world.
What an incredible gift to Scotland that will forever be in the care of the National Gallery. We are very excited… an x-ray image of the self-portrait will be available for public viewing.”
At the moment, the picture is something like a portrait of Schrödinger – no one is sure if they can physically separate it from the one painted over the “Head of a Peasant Woman”.
The gallery said in a statement that art historians are not sure what condition Van Gogh’s self-portrait is in, but are hoping to remove layers of material so that the “ghostly self-portrait” can be revealed to the public.
Research is currently ongoing to see if the paintings can be separated without damaging the Peasant Woman’s Head.
In other words, it is hoped that we will soon see a new portrait of Van Gogh taken at a defining moment in his career.
Art historians have a long history of discovering self-portraits “inside paintings” and five other examples are already on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
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