It took decades for the National Gallery of Scotland to discover the legendary artist's self-portrait hidden under his Peasant Woman's Head painting.
During their recent study, scientists from the National Gallery of Scotland X-rayed a painting by Vincent van Gogh and revealed a previously unknown self-portrait hidden on the back, writes NBC News.
On the reverse side of an early work, The Head of a Peasant Woman (1884), restorers noticed under layers of glue and cardboard the profile of a bearded man in a hat with a brim and a neckerchief. Despite the fact that only the left side of his face is visible, Van Gogh maintains an intense, inescapable gaze.
“Moments like this are incredibly rare. Van Gogh was one of the most important and popular artists in the world,” the elder said. Francis Fowl, curator of the National Gallery of Scotland.
Unlike some of the artist's later self-portraits, Van Gogh's left ear is clearly visible on the x-ray. As you know, he cut it off in December 1888 after a quarrel with fellow artist Paul Gauguin. He died two years later.
According to researchers, the self-portrait was made at a key moment in Van Gogh's career, when he became acquainted with the works of the French Impressionists after moving to Paris.
“This experience had great influence on why he chose the more colorful and expressive style of painting that is so admired today,” the experts explained.
Van Gogh experimented with painting portraits, using both friends and himself as models . He reused the canvases to save money. According to scientists, the decision to stick the canvas on cardboard before framing was made in 1905.
“At that time,” The Peasant Woman “was obviously considered more” finished “than Van Gogh's self-portrait,” the experts concluded.