New Van Gogh self-portrait discovered in X-ray of another painting
Employees of the National Galleries of Scotland discovered a new self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh while researching another painting. They found the self-portrait while X-raying the artist’s work from the museum’s collection.
The self-portrait was hidden under thick layers of glue and cardboard. In the portrait, the painter is wearing a brimmed hat and a loosely tied neckerchief. The right side of his face is shrouded in shadows. His left ear is clearly visible. Van Gogh struggled with mental health problems and cut off his left ear in 1888 during a nervous breakdown. According to NRC, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam does not doubt the work’s authenticity.
Museum curator Lesley Stevenson told the BBC that the employees were “shocked” when they suddenly saw Van Gogh staring at them on the X-ray. “This is an important discovery because it adds to what we already know about Van Gogh’s life.”
The researchers found the portrait on the back of the work Head of a Peasant Woman with a White Cap, which Van Gogh painted in 1885 of a woman from Nuenen. That painting has been in the Edinburgh museum’s collection since 1960. Van Gogh probably painted the self-portrait in Paris in 1887. The painter often used the backs of already painted canvasses to save money.
The research took place in preparation for the exhibition A Taste for Impressionism, which opens in two weeks. It will now not only show the portrait of the farmer’s wife but also the X-ray of the self-portrait. Experts will work to restore the self-portrait after the exhibition.
Reporting by ANP