An unknown portrait of Vincent Van Gogh was hidden behind that of a peasant woman

Revealed by an X-ray, the painting is concealed under layers of cardboard and glue, on the back of a painting from the National Galleries of Scotland.

A self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh was discovered on the back of another painting by the Dutch painter by a Scottish museum, which on Thursday was delighted with a discovery “incredibly rare“. The discovery was made possible after an X-ray study of the painting Portrait of a Peasant Woman made in 1885 by Van Gogh, ahead of an exhibition in Edinburgh devoted to Impressionism.

The portrait was discovered on the back of the work, covered by layers of glue and cardboard which, it seems, had been added before an exhibition in the early 20th century. “When we saw the radio for the first time, of course we were super excited“says Lesley Stevenson, curator at the museum. “Such moments are incredibly rare“, rejoiced Frances Fowle, curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. “We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world“.

Vincent Van Gogh is known for reusing canvases to save money. The self-portrait shows a bearded man seated with a hat and a scarf around his neck. His left ear – which the painter cut off in 1888 – is clearly visible. During the exhibition, which will be held from July 30 to November 13, visitors will be able to admire the work, reproduced by radiography. The museum is now considering how to remove the glue and separate the two works without damaging them.

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