Tiny painting by Hendrik Willem Mesdag found in National Archive

Poem on the back of a newly discovered Mesdag painting (Picture: Facebook/Nationaal Archief)Poem on the back of a newly discovered Mesdag painting (Picture: Facebook/Nationaal Archief)

An employee at the National Archives in The Hague recently made an amazing discovery: a hitherto unknown, teeny tiny watercolor painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag - the 19th century painter best known for the enormous cylindrical painting Panorama Mesdag. The employee found the small Mesdag, which is only 5 by 3 centimeters big, while looking for an artwork to exhibit to mark the 100th anniversary of the painter's death on July 10th, NOS reports. "We were very surprised when we found it", director Irene Gerrits told the broadcaster. The watercolor shows a boat on a river. According to Gerrits, what makes this painting even more special, is a little love poem on the back, dedicated to his fiancée Sientje van Houten. "The message of the poem is as follows: Every time you look at this painting, you'll think of me."

The poem also conclusively proves that this painting is a real Mesdag. The poem was signed by Mesdag. Compared to letter he wrote, both the handwriting and the signature match exactly. The work will be displayed in the National Archives for only three days from Friday. "Then perhaps you can go to the Mesdag Muesem in The Hague, but it is first seen here." Gerrits said.