An unknown self-portrait of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been discovered behind one of his works at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
This self-portrait is painted on the canvas of a village woman's face, and the experts of the National Gallery of Scotland discovered it by chance in the X-ray imaging of this painting.
This work is covered under layers of cardboard and glue, which was used when framing the painting.
Gallery director Leslie Stevenson said she was shocked to find the artist's face "looking out on us". She added, "When we saw the X-ray for the first time, of course, we were hugely excited. This is a significant discovery because it adds to what we already know about Van Gogh's life."
This Dutch painter often used the other side of the canvas of the works that he did not like to paint other works to save the cost of his works.
Van Gogh's works did not have many customers during his lifetime and it was only after his death in 1890 that he became famous as a great painter.
He died at the age of 37, and today he is known as one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art, whose works are sold at huge prices.
The portrait of a village woman was presented to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1960 by a prominent Edinburgh lawyer.
This painting shows a local painting of the city of Nieuwegein in the southern Netherlands, where Van Gogh lived from December 1883 to November 1885.
It is believed that Van Gogh painted the self-portrait on the other side of the canvas later after moving to Paris and being exposed to the works of the French Impressionists, a critical moment in his career.
About 15 years after Van Gogh's death, the portrait of a village woman was loaned to Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum for a painting exhibition, and the back was likely covered with cardboard at this time to frame the painting.
It is believed that the reason for preferring the face painting of a village woman to Van Gogh's face is that Van Gogh's face painting was probably not completed.
This painting changed hands several times, and in 1923, the first St. Croix Fleming, father of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, destroyed it. It was in 1951 that the painting came to Scotland and entered the collection of Alexander and Rosalind Maitland, who later donated it to the National Gallery of Scotland.
The experts of this gallery say that it is possible to expose this hidden portrait once again, but removing the layers of cardboard and glue is not easy and requires a lot of time and precision.
In this picture, Van Gogh is wearing a brimmed hat and a handkerchief tied around his neck and looking at the viewer. The right side of his face is in shadow and his left ear is visible.
Currently, research is underway on the best way to do this, and until then, visitors can see an X-ray image of the painting for the first time.
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