Culture

Dead grasshopper discovered in Vincent van Gogh painting

Dead grasshopper discovered in Vincent van Gogh painting”

Vincent Van Gogh, the legendary Dutch painter has drawn a handful of memorable paintings in his life, and even after 128 years of his death, his works remain the hottest pick among art lovers. The remains of a grasshopper was discovered on the canvas "Olive trees", which van Gogh painted in 1889.

Locating the grasshopper's remains required magnification and a sharp eye.

"We think that the dead grasshopper was probably blown into the painting by the wind and got caught in the thick paint", says Kathleen Leighton, a media relations manager at the museum. The grasshopper was left in its inadvertent burial site, and now rests in peace in the museum's Bloch Galleries, where "Olive Trees" is on display.

"Van Gogh worked outside in the elements, and we know that he, like other plein air artists, dealt with wind and dust, grass and trees, and flies and grasshoppers", says museum director Julián Zugazagoitia.

The grasshopper was spotted under a microscope by the museum's conservator Mary Schafer, who is helping to research an online catalogue of its French paintings.

"It is not unusual to find insects or plant material in a painting that was completed outdoors", she explained in an announcement.

"But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself!" van Gogh wrote in an 1885 letter to his brother, Theo, according to the Kansas City Star.

Museum visitors aren't going to be able to see the grasshopper parts, but they're there. "Olive Trees" is one of the most acclaimed works of the artist, and now, researchers have figured out one unknown peculiarity associated with this painting. Invited by the museum to take a closer look at the insect, paleo-entomologist Dr. Michael S. Engel noticed that there was no sign of movement in the paint surrounding its body, indicating that no struggle took place. The painting is available for viewing at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.



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