Van Gogh self-portrait discovery in Scotland

July 14 2022

Video: NGS

Exciting news at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, where they've discovered a previously unknown Van Gogh self-portrait on the back of his Head of a Peasant Woman. The self-portrait was hidden beneath backing board and glue, and found when conservator Lesley Stevenson took an x-ray in preparation for their forthcoming exhibition Taste for Impressionisn. It was painted at a time when Van Gogh was more than usually hard up for materials, and making studies of peasant figures for his famous painting, the Potato Eaters.

The NGS say they are going to investigate whether it is possible to remove the backing board without damaging the picture beneath. I suspect it is, but will of course take time. If I had to guess from the photo above, I'd say the self-portrait is probably unfinished. If they can reveal it, it will only be the second Van Gogh self-portrait in public ownership in the UK. Unless of course we find another one - I'm sure the National Gallery in London will be x-raying their own Van Gogh Head of a Peasant Woman very soon.

More here, and you can see a high-res image of the x-ray here.

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