A previously unknown self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, which had been hidden from view for more than a century, has been discovered by art conservators at National Galleries of Scotland.
The National Galleries said on July 14 that the mysterious image was revealed by an X-ray taken when conservators examined Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant Woman ahead of a forthcoming exhibition.
The self-portrait was on the back of the canvas, covered by layers of glue and cardboard, the galleries said.
Experts believe it may be possible to uncover the hidden portrait, but said the process of removing the glue and cardboard will require delicate conservation work. Research is ongoing as to how that can be done without harming Head of a Peasant Woman, they said.
According to the National Galleries, Van Gogh often reused canvases to save money, turning the canvas around and working on the reverse rather than painting over earlier works.
Prof Frances Fowle, senior curator of French art at the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “Moments like this are incredibly rare. We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world. What an incredible gift for Scotland, and one that will forever be in the care of the National Galleries.
“We are very excited share this thrilling discovery in our big summer exhibition, A Taste For Impressionism, where the X-ray image of the self-portrait will be on view for all to see," she said. Credit: National Galleries Scotland via Storyful