This self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh wasn’t known to exist until it was found on the back of another picture. The amazing find was made by researchers at Scotland’s National Galleries as they were getting ready for a show.
There were many layers of glue and cardboard covering the self-portrait on the back of another picture called “Head of a Peasant Woman.” This surprising result came from using an X-ray to look at the picture.
The artist will be there
The top restorer at the show, Lesley Stevenson, was shocked to see the artist “looking out at us.” As soon as they saw the X-ray for the first time, they were overjoyed. Stevenson stressed how important the finding was by saying that it helps us learn more about Vincent van Gogh’s life.
The Level of Van Gogh’s Creativity and Resourcefulness
Van Gogh, a Dutch artist known for being unique, often used old works in new ways. He would turn them over and start drawing on the back. Even during his lifetime, not everyone saw how talented he was as an artist. When he died at age 37 in 1890, he became famous, but only after he died.
The Good and Bad Times in the Life of a Country Girl
One of Edinburgh’s most famous lawyers gave “Head of a Peasant Woman” to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1960. From December 1883 to November 1885, the artist lived in the Dutch town of Nuenen, where the woman in the picture is from.
What Made the Shift Happen?
The backward self-portrait is thought to have been painted by Van Gogh much later in his career, after he had moved to Paris and seen the work of the French impressionists.
Figuring out the puzzle
The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam took “Head of a Peasant Woman” for a show about 15 years after Van Gogh’s death. At this point, the art was put on wood and framed. It looks like the secret self-portrait on the back of “Peasant Woman” wasn’t thought to be as important.
A Side Trip Through Time
Before it was bought by Evelyn St. Croix Fleming in 1923, the picture had already been owned by several other people. Ian, her son, was the one who thought of James Bond. The collection of Alexander and Rosalind Maitland was brought to Scotland in 1951. In the end, they gave it to the National Galleries of Scotland.
Keep the memory alive
The people in charge of the show are now discussing whether to reveal the hidden self-portrait or not. Taking off the glue and cardboard carefully is an important part of preserving “Head of a Peasant Woman.”
Sending Out the Information
A special lightbox at a show in Edinburgh will let people see the X-ray picture for the first time. Scientists are still looking for ways to find the secret beauty without damaging the original.
The X-ray shows a guy with a beard who is wearing a hat with a brim and a neckerchief that is not tightly tied. He is looking straight at the person looking at him, and his left ear stands out against the dark side of his face on the right.
A Present Like No Other
Professor Frances Fowle, responsible for the oversight of French art at the National Galleries of Scotland, characterized this discovery as an “exceptional contribution to Scotland.” And then, Vincent van Gogh remains an iconic and cherished figure in the realm of art history. Finding a work by him that hasn’t been seen before is one of the greatest things that can happen.
How Did Van Gogh Get to Be an Artist?
On the backs of paintings, you can find more self-portraits and works by artists from the Nuenen time. This discovery is not completely unique. Artists and art lovers all over the world are still interested in and inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s process.