X-rays reveal hidden self-portrait of Van Gogh

The mysterious image was revealed by an X-ray when conservationists at the National Gallery of Scotland examined van Gogh head of a peasant woman (1885) in front of a new exhibition called a taste for impressionism,

A routine cataloging process of a painting by Vincent van Gogh at the National Galleries in Scotland led to an unexpected discovery: a self-portrait hidden behind a canvas. Image revealed when conservationists were analyzing X-rays head of a peasant woman As part of a cataloging exercise in preparation for an upcoming exhibition. Once the exhibit opens, visitors will be able to view the X-ray image through a specially designed lightbox at the center of the exhibit.

As I have previously reported, X-ray imaging technology is a well-established tool to help analyze and restore valuable images because the high frequency of the rays means they can damage them through painting. pass properly without being delivered. X-ray imaging can reveal anything that has been painted on the canvas or where the artist may have altered the original vision.

For example, Vermeer’s girl reading letter at open window The first was subjected to X-ray analysis in 1979 and revealed the image of a Cupid lurking beneath the overpainting. And in 2020, a team of Dutch and French scientists used high-energy X-rays to unlock the secret recipe for Rembrandt’s own famous. the dough The technology, believed to have been lost to history.

Last year, we reported that researchers used infrared reflection to pass through the upper layers of paint from the famous 1788 portrait, now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, by 18th-century French chemist Antoine Lavoisier and his wife Marie-Kay Is. Anne, by Jacques-Louis David. The resulting reflectance showed signs of potentially significant structural changes to the carbon-based black underdrawing and dark, fuzzy shapes. The team also used macro X-ray fluorescence imaging to map the distribution of elements in the paint pigments—including the paint used—under the surface, to create detailed elemental maps for further study.

(बाएं) छिपे हुए वैन गॉग सेल्फ-पोर्ट्रेट की एक्स-रे छवि।  (दाएं) वैन गॉग की <em>head of a peasant woman</em> (1885).” src=”×390.jpg” width=”640″ height=”390″ srcset=”https:/ / 2x”/><figcaption class=
in great shape , (Left) X-ray image of the disguised Van Gogh self-portrait. (right) van Goghs head of a peasant woman (1885).

National Gallery of Scotland

Nor is this the first time a Van Gogh painting has been X-rayed. Back in 2008, European scientists used synchrotron radiation to recreate a hidden portrait of a peasant woman painted by van Gogh. The artist, known for reusing his canvas, painted it in the 1887s patch of grass, Synchrotron radiation excites the atoms on the canvas, which then emit X-rays of their own that can be picked up by a fluorescence detector. Each element in a painting has its own X-ray signature, so scientists can identify the distribution of each in several layers of paint.

Van Gogh was also known to reuse a canvas by painting on the opposite side. As van Gogh expert Martin Bailey writes in The Art Newspaper:

The Edinburgh painting is not van Gogh’s only double-sided painting with reused canvases. In 1929, Dutch patron Jan Cornelius Trass removed the cardboard backing from three Nuenen paintings, revealing the hidden pictures on the reverse. and we can report that it has long been suspected that something may be on the hidden side head of a peasant woman,

Completed in May 1885, head of a peasant woman One of Van Gogh’s more humble efforts, and it was donated to the National Gallery in 1960 by an Edinburgh lawyer named Alexander Maitland. According to the museum, experts now believe it is part of a series of studies conducted in relation to a larger painting by van Gogh, potato eaters (currently housed in the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam), completed in May 1885.

सीनियर कंज़र्वेटर लेस्ली स्टीवेन्सन <em>head of a peasant woman</em> with an X-ray image of a disguised Van Gogh self-portrait.” src=”×421.jpg” width= “640” height=”421″ srcset=” 2x”/><figcaption class=
in great shape , Thoughts from senior mentor Leslie Stevenson head of a peasant woman With an X-ray image of the disguised Van Gogh self-portrait.

Neil Hannah

When the museum’s conservationists subjected the small painting to X-ray analysis, they did not expect much. The resulting X-ray image revealed a portrait of a bearded sitter in a beard hat, with a neckerchief tied loosely around his neck, looking like Van Gogh. The painting was covered by layers of glue and cardboard, possibly applied in the early 20th century, possibly to secure the painting more securely before it was ready for an exhibition.

“Lo and behold! We don’t see much of the farmer woman, but we have lead white, the heavy pigment she used for her face, visible through cardboard after X-rays,” Leslie Stevenson National Gallery of Scotland, senior painting patron told the Guardian: “The discovery of a new work is extraordinary. Anything that gives us more information about the artist is a huge bonus and shows the benefit of technical analysis, that We can still explore new things.”

The next step is to figure out how to remove the glue and cardboard layers covering self-portraits without damaging the other painting. It is not clear what state the self-portrait is in more than a century later. “It’s like stepping into the unknown,” Stevenson told the Guardian. “The challenge will be to remove the adhesive from the oil paint layers, exploiting the differences in the solubility of animal-based glues and oil-based paints.”

Listing image by Neil Hannah

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