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Hidden Van Gogh self-portrait discovered behind painting in Scotland

By Ada Pelonia Published Jul 15, 2022 1:59 pm

A gallery in Scotland has unearthed Vincent Van Gogh’s previously unknown artist self-portrait hidden behind another of the artist’s paintings.  

According to a press release yesterday, July 14, by the National Galleries of Scotland, the self-portrait was covered by glue and cardboard at the back of Van Gogh’s 1885 "Head of a Peasant Woman" which was discovered when art conservators examined the latter painting prior to their upcoming exhibition.  

The X-ray revealed Van Gogh wearing a hat and neckerchief where he “fixes the viewer with an intense stare, the right side of his face in shadow and his left ear clearly visible.” The portrait was believed to be hidden for over a century.

Van Gogh was known to be economical by painting on both sides of the canvas to save money.  

“Moments like this are incredibly rare,” Frances Fowle, a senior curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, said in a report by AP Press. “We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world.” 

The gallery said experts are assessing how to remove the layers of glue and cardboard without damaging the artist’s “Head of a Peasant Woman” painting.  

The gallery also said in their statement that visitors can see the X-ray image inside a “specially crafted lightbox” in the middle of their exhibit “A Taste for Impressionism” at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh which will run from July 30 to Nov. 13. 

Van Gogh was a renowned artist who died on July 29, 1890. His famous paintings include “The Starry Night,” “Cafe Terrace at Night,” and “Sunflowers” among others.