Jul 14, 2022

By Christine Ross

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A previously unknown self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh has been discovered, behind another of the Dutch master’s paintings.

An X-ray of Van Gogh’s 1885 “Head of a Peasant Woman” painting ahead of a forthcoming exhibition revealed the hidden work. Conservators discovered the concealed image at the back of its canvas hidden by a sheet of cardboard.

Experts say the revealed artwork is believed to have been unknown until now.

“Moments like this are incredibly rare,” said Frances Fowle, senior curator of French art at the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) in the press release Thursday. “We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world.”

The Dutch master often re-used canvases to save money, turning them around to work on the reverse side. The underlying self-portrait is thought to have likely been made during a key moment in Van Gogh’s career, when he was exposed to the work of the French impressionists after moving to Paris.

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