The “significant discovery” of a self-portrait hidden behind an earlier work by Vincent van Gogh was announced by Scottish authorities on Wednesday. The previously undetected image was covered by multiple layers of glue and cardboard, according to the BBC, and stuck to the back of “Head of a Peasant Woman.” Forensic art experts stumbled upon the secret portrait while scanning the painting with an x-ray for an upcoming exhibition. Lesley Stevenson, the National Galleries of Scotland’s senior conservator, said the artist’s face seemed to be “looking out at us,” expressing shock and delight at the find. “When we saw the x-ray for the first time, of course we were hugely excited,” she said. Van Gogh, impoverished and unrecognized until after his death, often reused canvases to save materials, flipping them over to paint both sides. The first, more “finished” picture, “Head of a Peasant Woman,” is believed to have been painted around 1885. It has been in the National Galleries of Scotland’s hands since 1960.
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