The National Galleries of Scotland has discovered what is almost certainly a previously unknown self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh.
Believed to be a first for a UK institution, the mysterious image was revealed by an x-ray taken when art conservators examined Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant Woman of 1885 ahead of the forthcoming exhibition A Taste for Impressionism (30 July–13 November) at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Professor Frances Fowle, who holds a joint post with the University of Edinburgh and the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), says: “Moments like this are incredibly rare. We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world. What an incredible gift for Scotland, and one that will forever be in the care of the National Galleries. We are very excited to share this thrilling discovery in our big summer exhibition A Taste for Impressionism, where the x-ray image of the self-portrait will be on view for all to see.”
Professor Fowle teaches on ECA’s undergraduate and postgraduate History of Art programmes while also holding the post of Senior Curator of French Art at NGS.
Visitors will be able to see the amazing x-ray image for the first time through a specially crafted lightbox at the centre of the display.